Wednesday, August 8, 2018

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Ulster comptroller and administration exchange allegations

KINGSTON – Following a breach in the Ulster County computer system during late June, County Comptroller Elliot Auerbach sent a letter to State Attorney General Barbara Underwood urging her to conduct an investigation of County Executive Michael Hein, his staff and appointees who have access to the county system.

Auerbach alleged on Tuesday that files from the county’s servers, containing protected proprietary and financial information, were removed without authorization by an individual within the county executive’s office. He said he believes this breach was politically motivated to undermine the comptroller’s office.

“It is a calculated campaign attempting to undermine, disparage, and vilify the integrity of civil servants and their work,” said Auerbach. “It is an attack on the independence granted to the office by the county’s charter and is part of a demonstrable pattern of systematically unwinding the Office of the Comptroller through budgetary and positional reductions, salary decreases and obstruction of unfettered information,” he said.

Deputy County Executive Marc Rider saw the issue differently.

He said a concern was raised on May 9 that the comptroller’s office “may have accessed documents inappropriately, which led to an investigation by the county’s information services department headed by “a decorated retired lieutenant colonel form the US Marine Corps with expertise in data security – over a typical politician trying to avoid responsibility like County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach.”

Rider said it was also discovered that previously, Auerbach “had secretly recorded a member of the county legislature, county staff and the public without their knowledge.” He said that may not be illegal but the county legislature will address legislation to set a policy banning Auerbach or any other county employee from engaging in “this type of unethical practice.”

Rider said it is the hope of the administration that Auerbach “will stop worrying about petty politics and instead join us in producing honest benefit for the great people of Ulster County.”

 


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