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Many people around Albany describe the lieutenant governorship as state government’s most thankless job. Under the current governor, the job also is not an easy one.

Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy has frequently found out on short notice that he would have to get from his home in Rochester to one end of the state or another. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo often needs a top-ranking state official to appear at some governmental or ceremonial function, and who better fits that bill than the lieutenant governor?

There are few perks and privileges for the lieutenant governor, and no planes. So Duffy would travel by car – and with a bad back.

But Duffy is a relentless – in his own words – “cheerleader” for Cuomo, starting from the first day on the job when he introduced the new governor in 2011 at the State Capitol by telling an audience that he wakes up every day wondering how to best serve him.

Cuomo recently said that no one in his administration works harder than Duffy.But the pace and schedule may finally have caught up with the former Rochester police chief and mayor. He told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle that family considerations and the countless hours spent traveling the state by car entered into his decision to retire, especially because of chronic back pain. Last year, Duffy made overtures to become the head of a business advocacy group in Rochester but pulled back from pursuing the job. It is uncertain whether he might still take that post.

The Rochester Business Alliance’s president is leaving her job at the end of the year, and Duffy has said he will stay on with Cuomo through the end of his term in 2014. Duffy has been serving for a year amid Albany speculation that he would not be on the 2014 ticket.

email: rmccarthy@buffnews.com and tprecious@buffnews.com