Supreme Court upholds county comptroller’s audit authority over UCRRA

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Comptroller March Gallagher: “A win for transparency”

KINGSTON – State Supreme Court Justice Lisa Fisher has ruled that the Ulster County Comptroller’s Office has audit authority over the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency’s composting operation.

The UCRRA had sued in an attempt to block the audit, but the justice ruled the comptroller’s authority was based on a contract executed between the UCRRA and the county for funding related to the composting of food waste.

Comptroller March Gallagher is pleased with the ruling.

“This is a win for transparency for the taxpayers of Ulster County,” she said.

Justice Fisher noted the UCRRA expressly agreed to provide all books, forms, records, reports, cancelled checks, and all similar material for inspection, review, and audit by the county and other persons duly authorized by the county.

“The Ulster County Charter unequivocally deputizes the comptroller’s office as the chief auditing officer to undergo this function,” the court decision stated. “This dispels several semantic arguments advanced by petitioners, namely, that the county is a separate entity than the comptroller, as the vendor agreement allows for any other persons duly authorized by the county, which the Ulster County Charter expressly does authorize the comptroller to audit for the county.”

Gallagher noted the UCRRA “executed a contract expressly giving Ulster County audit authority.” She said this contractual audit language “is used in $180 million worth of vendor contracts each year and Judge Fisher’s decision protects the county’s ability to audit those contracts.”

The comptroller said the UCRRA “has wasted tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars obstructing what should have been a simple audit.”