Auerbach endorses Gallagher to replace him as Ulster County comptroller

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Gallagher listens as Auerbach pours on the praise

KINGSTON – Ulster County comptroller candidate March Gallagher held her campaign kickoff event Friday afternoon outside the County Office Building. There, she was endorsed by the outgoing Comptroller Elliott Auerbach, who is leaving for a deputy position in the State Comptroller’s Office.

Auerbach credited Gallagher for helping launch his career as fiscal watchdog. “In 2008, I sat in March’s kitchen and talked to her about this new position that the charter had created, called comptroller. And March had encouraged me to run at that time,” he told the crowd of 75 supporters gathered.

Gallagher said she is up for the challenge.

“Yes, we need to root out fraud and abuse. But we also need to be able to work with our other branches of government, and our partners, to make sure that we’re delivering services and bringing best practices to Ulster County government,” she said.

Gallagher faces fellow Democrat Lisa Cutten for the position. That battle will play out during a special nominating convention, to be held after the June 25th Primary.

Cutten, a former Republican, ran against Lou Kirschner, the former county treasurer, on the Republican line in 1993.

This year’s comptroller’s race is a special election, coinciding with the November general election, to fill the remainder of Auerbach’s four-year term. The cycle begins again in 2021.

“It’s not easy to call people out on waste and fraud, or conflicts of interest. But one thing we do know, if you shine the light, and follow the money, we can change the world,” Gallagher said. “We know that we face challenges ahead. Things are going to get much tougher. Whether it’s declining federal and state aid, reductions in tax revenues, cost of living going up, we are facing very difficult times. We are going to have to do better. We are going to have to save money and figure out better ways to inform and provide government,” Gallagher said.

“Looking back over 10 years, I’m kind of glad she forced me to do it,” the outgoing comptroller said. The two had met while serving on the Industrial Development Agency, where Gallagher was chair. “It gives me comfort, looking over my shoulder as I leave, to know that March Gallagher is sitting there, that she has the financial acumen, and the ability to ensure economy, efficiency and effectiveness for Ulster County taxpayers’ dollars,” Auerbach said.