Monroe County Clerk Adam Bello has accused Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo’s office of unfairly saddling him with additional expenses that will add an additional $120,000 in costs to the clerk’s budget in 2016.
In March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Bello, a Democrat, to the position as a replacement for Dinolfo, a Republican, following Dinolfo’s recent election to the office.
However, following an already-tumultuous relationship with Dinolfo after taking office, Bello announced the county’executives office has been paying for three auditor positions with the clerk’s budget since April 1.
Bello made the announcement in a letter he wrote to Dinolfo Wednesday.
According to Bello, the clerk’s budget has never previously paid for the positions, which is an error he said he only found through routine budget monitoring.
“To date, our team has processed more transactions than at this time last year,” Bello stated. “However, in order to stay within my new budget parameters, I will have no choice but to leave previously funded, authorized positions unfilled – the very people that directly serve residents. This will undoubtedly jeopardize our ability to continue offering first-class service with minimal wait times.”
Monroe County Director of Finance Robert Franklin responded with the following statement regarding Bello’s announcement:
“Over a period of many years, several positions in the county’s budget have been allocated to departments other than the area where those employees physically work. The process of rectifying these various assignments began in 2014 and 2015 in the Department of Human Services, and in 2016 in the Department of Human Resources. The approximate number of these changes to date is 80, and the county will continue to rectify these assignments in the preparation of the 2017 budget. The current number of employees in which this situation exists throughout the county is approximately 20.
“I authorized the shifting of the expense for the three positions to the county clerk’s budget to take effect March 12th, not April 1st. These positions are employees reporting to and working for the county clerk’s Office. Had Mr. Bello come to me as the finance director, I would have explained to him that through a regular 4th Quarter omnibus re-appropriation, taken to the legislature, an adjustment will be made so that the clerk’s office will be within its 2016 budget. The contention that the change impacts the clerk’s office’s ability to deliver service to residents is not accurate. This action does not transfer any employee from or to the county clerk, and should not have any impact on the day to day operation of that office.”
“Most importantly, in my role as chief financial officer, the taxpayers of Monroe County will not be negatively affected in anyway.”
Bello will run in November to hold onto the clerk’s office, facing GOP challenger Cheryl Rozzi, who is currently Greece town clerk.