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Onondaga County comptroller criticizes budget

Ellen Abbott

Onondaga County lawmakers will vote Tuesday on County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s $1.3 billion budget. Legislators have made some tweaks to the spending plan following budget hearings. But a dispute over staffing cuts in the comptroller’s department could be the most controversial issue.

The proposed budget eliminates six payroll auditors from the office of the county comptroller, something that doesn’t sit well with Comptroller Bob Antonacci.

"Eliminating 29 percent of my salary line, and six positions out of seven in my payroll budget line, is just a travesty,” said Antonacci.

County officials say the cuts are part of a consolidation movement all over county government, meant to lower costs and improve government efficiency. If the change is approved, four employees currently in the comptroller’s office would move to the finance department. Antonacci though, contends these employees, who spend most of their time auditing payroll, perform a necessary oversight role over the Mahoney administration.

"This isn’t saving money. This is meant to take oversight out of the elected comptroller’s office, and put it in the county administration,” said Antonacci.

This isn’t the first time the Mahoney administration has clashed with Antonacci. He’s suing Mahoney and legislators over pay raises they voted themselves last December, claiming the way they did it was illegal. Antonacci suggests this personnel move is in retaliation for that.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.