As the County Comptroller, I strongly support Ballot Proposition 4. These changes will help ensure that Ulster County taxpayer money is handled appropriately. The Charter Revision Commission unanimously approved these changes. These changes will strengthen the ability of the Comptroller’s Office to protect taxpayer dollars. Proposition 4 will bring much needed transparency and accountability to County government while addressing structural issues that have potential impacts on auditor independence. Here’s how:
· Prop 4 will give the County Legislature and the County Comptroller clear access to digital records. Most of the financial and program information in the County is kept in digital format and not just in our main financial system- for example records like occupancy tax payments and vehicle listings are kept in secondary software systems. Appropriate oversight requires the ability to access those records.
· Prop 4 will give the Comptroller’s Office stated audit authority over all component units of the County. These component units are public benefit corporations, like the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency, that have their own boards, operations, and governance but can impact the County’s financial position if they are not managed well.
· Prop 4 will give the Comptroller the ability to audit the bank reconciliation process. Under the current structure, the Comptroller’s Office cannot audit reconciliations because we are conducting the reconciliation in the first instance and cannot audit our own work. This means taxpayers are missing a vital double check to the bank reconciliation process.
· Prop 4 will ensure that anyone who is appointed to fill a vacancy in the Comptroller’s Office meets Government Finance Officers Association requirements for independence, meaning it will not be someone placed in the awkward position of auditing their own work.
For all of these reasons, I strongly urge you to VOTE YES on PROP 4.