Two vie to replace Auerbach as Ulster Comptroller

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 10/31/19

After Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach stepped down last May to accept a position with the state Comptroller’s office in Albany, two individuals are seeking to fill the remaining two …

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Two vie to replace Auerbach as Ulster Comptroller

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After Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach stepped down last May to accept a position with the state Comptroller’s office in Albany, two individuals are seeking to fill the remaining two years of his term - Lisa Cutten and March Gallagher. The winner would have to run again in 2021 for a full four year term.

Lisa Cutten is presently non-enrolled, having switched from the Democratic Party last July. She will appear on the Independence, Republican and Conservative lines.

Cutten said the County Comptroller, “is the taxpayer’s watchdog, empowered by the County Charter to root out fraud, waste and abuse, and be a true advocate for the people ensuring that the more than $350 million that flows through the county coffers annually is being used to serve them.”

Cutten said she has a proven track record of stopping fraud in the Ulster County government. When she was the County Auditor she questioned an invoice that resulted in the NYS Attorney General’s prosecution of the Lower Esopus Riverwatch and Rick Fritschler, “proving in Supreme Court that hundreds of thousands of Ulster County taxpayers’ money had been stolen in just a few years. Many people had been fooled in the county but as an experienced auditor and local government finance leader, I was not.”

Cutten began her career in public service in 1986 as the Treasurer in the City of Kingston and went on to serve as Comptroller in the Towns of Poughkeepsie and Fishkill. She also served as the Ulster County Auditor, Senior Auditor for Ulster County Comptroller, Ulster County Deputy Budget Director and Ulster County Director of Accountability, Compliance & Efficiency.

Cutten is a Certified Public Accountant and promises to, “bring diverse accounting, auditing and local government finance experience including more than 10 years experience in Ulster County government finance and auditing to the Comptroller post.

“Its about watching the money... people not politics,” she said. “I am the only candidate who has the experience, expertise and independence that Ulster County taxpayers can count on to ensure that their tax dollars are protected.”

In her run for Comptroller, Democrat March Gallagher has picked up the endorsements of CSEA Local 856, NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, former Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach, HVALF, the HV Building and Construction Trades Council, and Citizen Action. She will be on the Democratic and Working Families lines on the ballot.

“We need more committed, competent people in government. I have spent much of my life in public and community service,” she said. “The Comptroller’s office’s charges to root out waste, fraud and abuse while making sure we are using our resources as wisely as possible will enable us to meet the challenges ahead.”

Gallagher has a background as a Management Executive with, “strategic planning and communication skills grounded in understanding the fiscal side of public policy. These skills will enable me to manage a team including CPAs to identify potential waste and inefficiencies and communicate complex financial information to the legislative, executive and the general public.”

Gallagher said her push for transparency and accountability, “began when I chaired the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency where I ushered in a wave of reform to ensure that businesses that receive tax benefits are held accountable to create the jobs they promise for tax breaks. My experience as President & CEO of the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, stewarding a $75 million charitable fund and managing grant agreements for the provision of health and human services activities, gives me additional financial and program audit experience that have prepared me to serve in the Comptroller’s office.”

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