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Councilman pushes to make comptroller an appointed position

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Councilman pushes to make comptroller an appointed position
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UTICA, N.Y. -- Legislation is in the works to make major changes to a prominent Utica position.

Common Councilman Joe Marino is proposing to change the city comptroller from an elected position to a professional position appointed by the mayor.

Marino said a comptroller should be required to have a certain qualifications, including a financial background. However, according to the constitution, stipulations cannot be placed on elected positions.

"Increasing our bond rating and lowering our debt service are two of the most critical things we could do as a municipality and having a professional finance manager in there is the only way that I could think to do it," explained Marino.

"What this does is it puts the city in a very precarious situation. You have the mayor who appoints his finance director and then he appoints his comptroller, there are no checks and balances," argued Frank Vescera, a common councilmember.

Other common council members have expressed other concerns, including the proposal would take the right to vote away from citizens. The legislation is still in the finance committee. Marino hopes to have the common council vote to send it to a public referendum within the next month.

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