A tug of war between the Common Council and the Mayor’s office about the validity of a council-appointed fiscal auditor position may not be resolved until well into a new fiscal year that begins July 1.
What remains on the table, however, is the work product of Deborah Canyock who abruptly resigned in May from the part-time auditor post amid continuing and sometimes personal attacks by Republican Ald. Louis Salvio, the Stewart Administration’s self-appointed defender of the public purse.
Canyock’s final report cited escalating costs across city departments that the Mayor and Council should examine to extract additional savings. She asserted that “budget creep” within some city departments amounts to $331,000 that should be reviewed before a final budget is set.
Salvio has sought to divert attention from Canyock’s work by opposing the ordinance that created the $36,400 part-time position that is intended to provide the Council with fiscal expertise and analysis in adopting budgets submitted by Stewart and department heads.
While the auditor position raises interesting issues of separation of powers and the prerogatives of the executive and legislative branches, the immediate question remains: What do the Mayor and the Common Council intend to do about the possibility of saving $331,000 for the taxpayers? If Mayor Stewart and Ald. Salvio have their way the tax rate will increase and the report on cost cutting will be thrown in the trash. Common sense dictates that the Common Council, particularly all 12 Democrats, unanimously support consideration of the Canyock report.