Restoration of comptroller’s pre-audit authority being negotiated

By Published On: October 27th, 2022Categories: Capitol Notes

Gov. Kathy Hochul indicated during Tuesday’s gubernatorial debate that she doesn’t plan on signing legislation restoring the pre-audit authority of the state comptroller’s office without some changes to the measure.

“I’m in conversation with the comptroller as we speak,” the western New York Democrat told Capital Tonight host Susan Arbetter. The governor added that she’s looking to raise the threshold on contracts that would be covered by the pre-audit authority.

“I believe in this. I believe in accountability and transparency,” Hochul added.

The senate sponsor of the bill, Rockland County Democrat Elijah Reichlin-Melnick confirmed there have been ongoing discussions about chapter amendments. He expressed a willingness to address contract thresholds, acknowledging that a static amount was not perfect, but stressed that any changes need to be an improvement over the status quo.

“I’m not interested in agreeing to a chapter amendment if the comptroller is going to say this is horrible and it’s not going to do anything,” the senator added.

Asked about the state of talks and willingness to see the bill language tweaked, a spokesperson for state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said they were urging the governor sign the legislation and restore the authority curtailed during the Cuomo administration.

“We are confident that the governor has heard from good government groups and lawmakers that acting now is critical,” said the comptroller’s spokesperson.

The legislation was approved this year with enough support to convene a veto override vote if the legislative leaders decided to walk away from negotiations and essentially dare Hochul to kill the bill. Reichlin-Melnick said a veto override hasn’t been discussed, but that it should be in the back of everyone’s mind.

A veto override vote hasn’t been attempted in both houses of the state Legislature in more than a decade.