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Saturday 10 December 2022
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Onondaga County to Force Comptroller Antonacci to Cooperate With Payroll Audit

The Onondaga County Legislature passed a resolution earlier this week requiring Comptroller Bob Antonacci to cooperate with an audit of the county’s payroll process.

Back in January, a member of Antonacci’s staff adjusted payroll to cancel raises for elected officials. However, an employee in the county executive’s office noticed that the change had been made and undid it.

According to Deputy County Executive Bill Fisher, Antonacci circumvented existing payroll controls, which are in place to ensure that no one has the ability to unilaterally impact payroll or steal funds.

“If someone can bypass that control, then you’ve got a problem,” said Fisher. “[Antonacci] knows damn well that he went around the control framework that’s in place, and he’s making it look like, ‘Oh, this is what the judge is going to decide.’ No, the judge will decide whether it was a lawful or unlawful raise.”

Antonacci, on the other hand, is suing the legislature and the county executive over salary raises and suing the personnel director for “tampering” with files. He said that he could not comment because of the ongoing litigation; however, he did say that he is not bothered by the audit.

“I recommended it,” he said. “I told them yesterday that this is a pending matter.”

Despite what Antonacci said, Legislator David Knapp introduced the resolution after the comptroller refused to cooperate with the portion of the audit involving the first pay period of the year – the exact month in which the “unlawful” changes were made.

“I don’t know who was right or wrong and I don’t care,” said Knapp. “The fact is, people were in the payroll changing numbers around … We have to get our arms around this.”

In the end, the resolution to force Antonacci to cooperate with the audit passed 13 to two. Onondaga County has hired Dannible & McKee to conduct the audit on the payroll system.

Perhaps this whole mess could have been avoided had the county employed the expertise of a quality payroll provider, as recommended by over 85% of certified public accountants.