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RESPONSE to Sheriff Comments Press Release 09.21

RESPONSE to Sheriff Comments Press Release 09.21

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Published by Elliott Auerbach

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Published by: Elliott Auerbach on Sep 21, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 Office of the Comptroller (845) 340-3525 Email- eaue@co.ulster.ny.us
The mission of the Ulster County Comptroller’s Office is to serve as an independent agency of the people and to protect the publicinterest by monitoring County government and to assess and report on the degree to which its operation is economical, efficient and its financial condition sound.
KINGSTON, NY (September 21, 2012)…
I did not have the opportunity to reviewSheriff Van Blarcum's address to the U.C. Legislature at the 9/19/12 meeting until today.It appeared out of character for the Sheriff and contradictory to both the chain of eventsand the joint memo the Sheriff and the District Attorney sent to the Legislature on 9/18regarding a memorandum of understanding for the ULSTER REGIONAL GANGENFORCEMENT NARCOTICS TEAM (URGENT).My Office, at the request of the County Attorney's Office and prompted by a letter fromthe City of Kingston, was asked to review finances as they relate to forfeitures and assetsof URGENT, an Ulster County law enforcement initiative. The program had come underscrutiny of late when it was discovered that nearly $200,000 worth of county issuedchecks written to an URGENT team member and Kingston City Police Officer were partof a fraud investigation led by the FBI.After a preliminary review by the Director of Internal Audit and Control, a CPA, theDeputy Comptroller, an attorney, and a Senior Auditor, a DRAFT REPORT waspresented to all parties (the DA, the Sheriff and the City of Kingston) for review andcomment. Each party was told that their written comments would be attached to theFINAL REPORT, and any material corrections were to be made by our office beforerelease. The Sheriff submitted brief written comments to the draft report of which he wasso critical on the floor of the legislature. However, contrary to his inflammatorycomments on the 19th, in his written comments he merely offered some additional factswhich will be helpful in finalizing the report, and in fact, he generally was supportive of the report, making his comments on the 19th even more surprising.As our investigation unfolded it was clear that there was an opportunity to "shore up" thesoon to be considered memorandum of understanding. We identified language thatneeded clarity and would protect the interests of all parties, including the sheriff. Therewere several attempts by our office to promote a one month postponement which finally

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