Syracuse City Auditor Defends his Office Against Criticism from Opponent
Syracuse City Auditor Marty Masterpole wants to set the record straight on a number of allegations made by his green party opponent in recent weeks. Masterpole is rebutting many of Howie Hawkins' claims, including that he’s not doing enough audits compared to his predecessor.
"My opponent references '11 audits per year and you're doing 4.' I haven't counted 11 unique audits in 2008, 2009, 2010, or 2011. There's no 11 unique audits."
Masterpole says he personally sets his office’s performance indicators; they’re not dictated by the city charter. He says there’s a simple explanation for why the number of audits might be down.
"The land bank audit was very extensive, it was time consuming, it was needed to help the land bank which is doing great work helping clean bad properties from our neighborhoods, collect taxes, etc. Had I known at the time the extensiveness of that audit, maybe I would have set that performance indicator backwards."
Masterpole says the land bank audit is necessary to help the relatively new city-county entity build a path to success. He also refutes a claim by Hawkins that audits of alcoholic beverage surcharge revenue at Clinton Square festivals are a low priority.
"Before we started monitoring it, it would bring in between$20,000 and $25,000. Now I ask each festival, we want to know how much alcohol you sold, backed up with receipts from the beverage companies. We're up to about $100,000, or up $70,000 a year."
Which translates to about $250,000 over the past four years. Masterpole says he’ll continue those audits because it makes sense to put that money back into parks operations.
HIGH-IMPACT AUDITS AND STAFFING
Green Party challenger Howie Hawkins has spent the past few weeks lobbing some fairly serious accusations against incumbent Marty Mastererpole…from not doing enough audits or the right audits to purposely not filling vacancies in his office. Masterpole says he’s quite proud of the work he and his staff have done, including a report on the city’s astronomical cost of employee health care.