CARPENTER BLASTS POLITICAL POWER PLAY
Treasurer:  So called "Cost Savings" = Political Cronyism 
County Exec. Kills Checks & Balances While Padding Patronage Payroll
In an open letter to the taxpayers of Suffolk County, County Treasurer Angie Carpenter blasted Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone for running rough-shod over the checks and balances that protect Suffolk County residents and their hard earned tax dollars. Carpenter was referring to a resolution that was strong-armed through the County Legislature creating a referendum to consolidate the Suffolk County Offices of Comptroller and Treasurer.

A Newsday editorial called the action "convoluted" and said it "smacks of politics" while the non-partisan League of Women Voters said the cynical action "does not provide the full discussion and transparency that such a major administrative change should require." and "seems politicized-and politics and finance are poor bedfellows."

Below please find the text of an open letter to Suffolk County taxpayers:

Dear Suffolk County Taxpayers:
Recently, County Executive Bellone strong-armed a resolution through the Suffolk County Legislature to place a referendum on the ballot this November that would eliminate the two elected offices of Comptroller and Treasurer under the guise of saving money and improving "operational efficiency." The Executive used a report produced by his crony filled "Performance Management Team" which made this politically fueled recommendation in a vacuum. 

After reviewing the action, the non-partisan League of Women Voters stated that it "does not provide the full discussion and transparency that such a major administrative change should require."

This report was issued by the so called "Performance Management Team" without ever visiting or discussing it with the staff of the Treasurer's Office, an office, which is defined by the County's charter as being charged as "the custodian of all money belonging to the taxpayers of this County, and keeps a true account of all receipts and disbursements."

The Comptroller's office has the separate and distinct responsibility to "examine, audit, and verify all books, records and accounts." That is precisely the "Checks and Balances" two separate independent departments answering directly to the people provides. This is a cynical and calculated attempt to blend these two separate and distinct functions in an effort to diminish the necessary and prudent fiscal controls of Suffolk County and its $2.8 billion budget.

In the past, independent financial advisors have stated that "such a consolidation could lead to financial deterioration and credit erosion." At a time when the public is rightfully demanding more transparency, tighter fiscal oversight, and the requisite "Checks and Balances," the passage of this referendum would seriously jeopardize the one area of governmental oversight that anyone with common sense and an iota of fiscal responsibility would fight to protect.

Among the supposed benefits of the consolidation being touted by its proponents are fiscal savings created by eliminating duplicative positions. The cold, hard facts show there are no duplicative positions!

Real consolidation savings can be achieved by eliminating the multitude of political patronage appointments County Executive Bellone made in the first months of his administration, including his newly created Performance Management Team, which, according to reports, has seven newly hired workers earning six figure salaries. The highest of which is paid a whopping $160,000 a year salary!

County Executive Bellone's actions are cynical because at the same time he was laying off hundreds of county workers he created the Performance Management Team to feather-the-nest of his out of work cronies.

Term limits, passed by the voters for the present Comptroller would also be thrown out the window because a "new title" is created enabling another 12 years, clearly not what the voters intended when they overwhelmingly supported term limits in 1993.

As the County Treasurer, I have a fiduciary responsibility to you, the taxpayers of Suffolk County....a responsibility I take very seriously. Part of that responsibility is to speak out at times like this.

Sadly, all these convoluted actions will not produce any real sustainable savings. Rather, it will wind up costing our taxpayers even more money. The public is demanding that their elected officials work together to find real efficiencies and consolidation in government, the kind that save our hard-working taxpayers dollars, not cost them more.

Please join me in my fight to keep the needed checks and balances in place to protect your hard earned tax dollars.

Sincerely,
Hon. Angie M. Carpenter
Suffolk County Treasurer



  


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