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Maroun and Marion face off in Syracuse city auditor race

(Marion) Alex For Syracuse / (Maroun) City of Syracuse
Incumbent Nader Maroun (right) is being challenged by fellow Democrat Alex Marion in Syracuse's city auditor race

In the Syracuse City Auditor race, an incumbent is being challenged by a fellow Democrat, who is running for public office for the first time.

Syracuse city auditor Nader Maroun ran unopposed last election cycle. But now that he’s on the campaign trail, he said he’s mostly doing what he always does: talking to people who live in the city.

“I think people know that I’m a guy who follows up always in 24 hours and made sure I did the best I could for them,” Maroun said. “So, it’s the same for me. It’s just engagement with the constituents that I love.”

Prior to becoming city auditor, Maroun served on the Syracuse Common Council. He represented District 1 in the 1980s and District 5 from 2010-2017.

Now, he’s being challenged by fellow Democrat Alex Marion. Marion worked in former Mayor Stephanie Miner’s administration before working for state senator Mike Gianaris. Marion said during his time working with the state legislature, he worked on a range of issues, including increasing funding for schools across the state and passing laws related to early voting. He said that experience taught him how to deliver big things.

"The auditor must also be an advocate, and they have to advance their recommendations,” Marion said. “They have to build coalitions. They have to work with their allies in the council. They have to work with the administration. They have to work with community stakeholders."

Maroun is hoping voters consider his experience with city government when they head to the polls. He said in his first term, he has conducted roughly 20 audits, including an in-depth assessment of workers’ compensation in the city. He said focusing on the city’s structural deficit is his main priority going forward.

"Every audit we do has that in mind,” Maroun said. “How are we evaluating efficiency and accountability and transparency in the context of the structural deficit, so that city can maintain, and not be under a fiscal control board like Buffalo is?"

Marion said if he’s elected, some of his priorities include analyzing pandemic relief funding and looking into how climate change could affect city government.

"I think too often in city government, we see the solutions posited dwarfed by the scale of our challenges, and I want to be a city auditor who can be proactive, assertive, and community focused and take on some of the city's biggest challenges,” Marion said.

Both candidates said they plan to spend the days ahead getting out into the community and talking to constituents. Primary day is June 27.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.