League of Women Voters – Syracuse Metro Area
All the candidates for Onondaga County and City of Syracuse were invited to participate in the League of Women Voters' online guide to the Nov. 3 general election.
What are your 3 top priorities for your position as Auditor if you are elected?
1. Deputy City Auditor: Hire a professionally qualified Deputy City Auditor, a Certified Public Accountant or a professional auditor with at least three years experience in municipal auditing, as required by the city charter. The current Deputy City Auditor is not qualified. The City Auditor has had to hire outside contractors to complete audits.
2. Do the Full Job: Complete at least 8 financial audits and 3 special audits per year as expected by the city budget. The current City Auditor has conducted only 4 audits per year. The previous City Auditor did up to 14 audits per year.
3. High Impact Special Audits: Prioritize special audits that address the big issues and risks the city faces, such as long term fiscal sustainability, fiscal impact of school receivership, predatory lending, environmental audits, city broadband services, segregation and poverty, and the costs of drug law enforcement. The current Auditor's audits of the city ice rink and golf courses were not high priorities.
The city of Syracuse has seen improvement in managing its fiscal affairs through its Fiscal Stress Monitoring System. What measures would you take as city auditor to further improve fiscal practices?
I would work to bring the timeliness of financial reporting up to current U.S. Government Auditing Standards. Monthly financial statements are now delayed, making cash flow management difficult.
I would introduce a Syracuse version of New York City's award-winning online "Checkbook NYC" transparency tool that tracks in real time the budget, revenue, expenditures, payroll, and contracts, including minority and women's business enterprise contracts.
The city should follow the recommendations of the State Comptroller's Office, which developed the Fiscal Stress Monitoring System, including ending non-union patronage hires by the Syracuse Urban Renewal Agency that flout civil service rules.
I would draw on the best practices of other cities, such as environmental audits and tracking indicators of economic welfare and environmental sustainability in order to better monitor how city policies impact city economic and environmental goals, such as reducing poverty and our carbon footprint.