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Onondaga County comptroller race pits newcomer against experience

Onondaga County Comptroller Matt Beadnell and Syracuse City Auditor Marty Masterpole.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon appointed Matt Beadnell as the county comptroller, after the former comptroller, Bob Antonacci stepped down to become a state senator. A general election for comptroller will be held in November. Beadnell, a Republican and political newcomer, will face a more experienced Democratic challenger.

Beadnell is 30 years old and it’s his first time running for office. He worked in the comptroller office for two and half years prior. He said the campaign is going well, momentum is on his side and he brings a lot of energy as a younger guy.

“That resonates with my supporters at this point," Beadnell said. "We’ve been very successful with fundraising to date. Our next step is to bring some name recognition across the county for us.”

In his role as comptroller, Beadnell said he’s looking into the finances of the medical examiner’s office, after the former medical examiner was fired for inappropriate behavior.

“In our county we service other counties," Beadnell said. "Are we charging enough for the services? There’s expenses that go along with servicing these other counties.” 

Beadnell’s Democratic challenger is Syracuse City Auditor Marty Masterpole, who is in his eighth year as auditor.

“We did joint audits with the county comptroller’s office, relative to the land bank," Masterpole said. "I have a wealth of knowledge on the sales tax agreement and the entire county budget. I think it’s a perfect fit and the opportunity is there and timing is right.”

Some recent accomplishments Masterpole points to, includes a living wage compliance investigation this past December that found employees at the airport were underpaid.

“One individual got a paycheck of $10,000 just before Christmas because they weren’t being paid the rate they were supposed to be,” Masterpole said.

His office uncovered money missing from the city’s parks department last year, which resulted in the commissioner pleading guilty to stealing.   

Masterpole also previously served as a county legislator and Syracuse city councilor, but he’s treating the race for comptroller as being the underdog, running against an incumbent for a position that’s never been won by a Democrat.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.