Opinion: Canton resident has questions about McAuliffe's motivation
To the Editor:
The first goal listed in Karen McAuliffe’s letter in North Country This Week highlighted her desire to return financial responsibility to the town rather than pay $60,000 for an outside bookkeeper. This strikes me as a questionable priority item.Good governance means ensuring that you are spending taxpayer dollars wisely, not just “returning some of the outsourced responsibilities to the town officials.” The proposed expenditure of $60,000 is less than 2% percent of the budget. Paying that amount annually to professional, certified accountants assures taxpayers that the town’s finances are not being mismanaged.
If the town takes over, it will actually cost taxpayers more, once salary and benefits are factored in, not to mention the unresolved question of whether the employee would be a certified accountant. Don’t we all remember when the former town supervisor tried to pay himself to manage the books, to the tune of $75,000 a year?
I also find it odd that McAuliffe mentioned that she would like to “streamline the number of executive sessions” required. One of the main purposes of an executive session is to make sure that town employees, including the supervisor, are performing their duties adequately. Why would taxpayers want to limit the board’s ability to oversee its employees?
Furthermore, the Town of Canton's fiscal stress score has decreased to 0 from 9 only two years ago, a direct result of fiscal responsibility by all town board members and departments. The accountants also provide the board with monthly reports detailing all expenditures, payrolls, and other financial activity.
In terms of goals, McAuliffe mentions only that she would continue the expansion of the recreation department and follow through with downtown waterfront plans. Ironically, those are all initiatives that the current supervisor, Mary Ann Ashley, has led.
As a resident, Karen McAuliffe’s platform leaves me with more questions than answers regarding what she stands for. And, judging by the fact that she switched from the republican party to the democratic party one day before the filing deadline (yes she is, on paper, a democrat), only to then run on the republican and conservative ticket, I wonder whether McAuliffe knows what she stands for either.