Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Faso-Spitzer debate - Hevesi

Near the end of Tuesday's debate, State Comptroller Alan Hevesi's name came up. Spitzer thinks that Hevesi is an honest, able accountant who ably serves in this position. Of course, Spitzer's definition of honest and able differs from John Faso's, and pretty much everyone else's for that matter.

To get a little background on Mr. Hevesi, take a look at this note from J. Christopher Callaghan, Republican candidate for state comptroller. And visit Callaghan's Web site, too.

Special message from Chris Callaghan
 
Last Thursday, Comptroller Alan Hevesi, the man responsible for protecting New York’s taxpayers against fraud and abuse in government, admitted to one of the most shocking cases of abusing the public trust in recent history.

After the Comptroller had gotten into hot water as New York City Comptroller for having a City employee work as a chauffeur for his wife, Hevesi paid restitution to the City and discontinued the practice. Certainly, as City Comptroller, he should have known better. At the very least, he should have learned from his mistake. Unfortunately for the taxpayers of New York, he hasn’t.

In response to a tip I phoned in last week to Comptroller Hevesi’s fraud, waste, and abuse hotline, the Comptroller’s office admitted that Hevesi had, incredibly, done it again as State Comptroller - same employee, same passenger, just a different level of government. Worse, after being told by the State Ethics Commission that he had to reimburse the State, Hevesi failed to do so. The kicker? Hevesi’s spokesman admitted that they don’t even know how much the Hevesis owe the State, because the calculations had not yet been made.

Not long ago, Hevesi earned the ire of New York’s corrections officers for failing to deliver a pay raise that the officers had won, deservedly, through arbitration. Hevesi’s office had known what the numbers were long ago, but it declined to make the necessary calculations to permit the officers to be paid promptly upon legislative approval. Instead, Hevesi never made the calculations, and when pressed, blamed union leadership for the problem.

This payroll failure was inexcusable. Hevesi’s provision of a chauffeur for his wife at taxpayer expense is both inexcusable and outrageous. But his failure to calculate and remit payments as advised by the Ethics Commission defies all logic, and irreversibly compromises his legitimacy as the State’s head accountant and chief elected fiscal watchdog.

Last Friday, we learned that the Ethics Commission actually never gave Hevesi permission to subsidize his wife’s transportation with State taxpayer money, "absent security concerns." This directly contradicts information released by Hevesi’s office in the wake of this story. Each new day brings a new scandal and further evidence that Hevesi long ago traded in his moral compass for an easy button. What new ethical lapse will we learn of tomorrow?

My fight to remove Alan Hevesi and his questionable accounting practices began in 2004 when one of his accounting gimmicks threatened to cost Saratoga County taxpayers money. I’ve been fighting for the taxpayers in Saratoga County for 23 years, and today they pay the lowest taxes per capita of any county in New York State. As County Treasurer, I called him on the gimmick, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board agreed, and the taxpayers in my county benefited. I have been speaking out against his shady fiscal practices ever since, and believe that it’s high time to send this man on his way to collecting his third government pension.

Friday, Fred Dicker, State Editor of the New York Post, reported that if I had any money or name recognition, I might beat Alan Hevesi on this issue alone. Well, I have been traveling the State continuously, running a true grass roots campaign, and building my name recognition one handshake at a time. As to money, it has been a challenging year, as many of you know.

Many folks are hesitant to contribute to someone who they believe can’t win. I understand that. I’ve been a government accountant for 35 years, and I’m the last one to advocate throwing away good money. But Hevesi’s exploits, including his bizarre statements about assassinating the President of the United States, his office’s losing sensitive state employee personal data, and now this admitted misuse of public funds, have been so well documented, I know that we have a chance to show the voters of this State what kind of man he really is.

Hevesi has said that "I don’t report to anybody." Well, this November, he reports to us!

I know that times are tough, especially for those of us drowning in a sea of unnecessarily high property taxes and struggling to make ends meet. But I need your help. Together, we can return credibility, competency, and accountability to the Comptroller’s office. Please help in any way you can, either by clicking on the online donation form below, by sending a check to my campaign headquarters, or by signing on to volunteer through the website.

Instead of passion, let’s bring some integrity back to Albany.

Sincerely,

Chris Callaghan

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