Saturday, April 2, 2011

Letter to the TH-RECORD Editor 04.02.11

Facts, please, not hearsay

As Ulster County's first elected county comptroller, I am willing to take a few "jeers" that may sometimes go with the job of protecting the public's interests. I prefer, however, to be jeered on the basis of facts rather than hearsay.

The Charter requires the comptroller to audit and certify for payment all lawful claims or charges against the county.

As an independent agency of the people, I am the last line of defense that must be crossed before funds are released. While I am not the CFO and do not have the power to "freeze accounts," I do have the authority to demand that best practices are in place to ensure that taxpayer dollars are safeguarded.

My staff and I have spent several weeks requesting information from the sheriff and the district attorney's office regarding confidential funds to ensure that there were protocols and written procedures in place. To date, the county exposure for this money has topped $200,000.

I welcome the opportunity to meet with your editorial board to clarify the scope of my authority and in particular my approach in fulfilling my obligations.

After all, "The information is only as good as the source it comes from."

Elliott Auerbach

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