The inspector general versusan independent comptroller

| 23 Feb 2012 | 03:39

    I read the “My View” article by Supervisor Fornario and Legislator Donnery concerning the creation of a position of Inspector General and believe the creation of an Independent Comptroller is a stronger protection. There is a need for “checks and balances” in Orange County as is evidenced by the fact that the County Legislative chairman has committed to supporting all of the County Executives initiatives without any reservations, questions or oversight. The County Legislative majority also appears to support that position based on their voting in 2010 and so far in 2011. I would strongly suggest that we need an Independent Comptroller. That position would have the responsibility of assessing the budget as it is being built by the County Executive and make recommendations to the CE and the County Legislature on that budget. Also, that position would be responsible for monitoring and reporting on actual revenue and spending each month to the legislature and to any outside government agency, like the NYS Comptroller. In fact, the new software that the county is attempting to install should provide a function that inhibits the county executive from exceeding the approved appropriation. The Inspector General position creates a full time person(s) who will monitor for fraud and abuse after it happens. The Independent Comptroller’s position and staff should provide controls that should prevent it from happening at all and be in a position to investigate it before it is reported. The Comptroller would be responsible for reporting and monitoring all revenues and expenditures of the county, and thus would also have a responsibility to investigate any fraud and abuse found or reported by the employees and/or residents. The Independent Comptroller would report their findings to the County Legislature and/or the District Attorney for their action. The Comptroller would be accountable to the voters. They would provide a level of support for the County legislature that does not exist today because the County Legislature has no staff to do any work on laws that they are asked to approve. Therefore, they will have an independent person who will investigate, verify and report on the financial implications of any new law unlike today where the County Executive presents only his side for the projects he proposes to the Legislature. Most of the positions for this office could be filled by a reorganization of the budget office, the Commissioner of Finance and the County Executive’s office where some of this work is done today. I would further recommend that the county is in need of a County Charter Revision and the County Legislature should create a citizens committee from members of the community who are independent (i.e., have nothing to gain). The members of this committee should represent a broad cross section of the county’s population. Robert A. Fromaget Blooming Grove