As an avid reader, I love a good story line. But when it comes to governance, I prefer non-fiction. The more I hear from the current Comptroller, the more I realize he has woven himself quite a tangled web. Let’s take a second to examine some of Stefan’s tall tales.
1) “I hired the first female CPA as deputy” - Often made remark during campaign speeches.
Truthiness: Not entirely false, because he did hire a woman CPA, but following a scandal involving some totes of private information, she resigned just a few months into the job and was replaced by political appointments with zero (like none!) accounting or finance experience.
2) “His award-winning investigative reports uncovered numerous cases of fraud, waste, and abuse in Erie County government that lead to good government reforms that better served taxpayers. “ - Narrative on website.
Truthiness: Stefan claims to have focused on waste and abuse in Erie County, and that those reports won awards! Which awards, Stefan? From whom? What years? For which stories? We think it is interesting that you don’t list them anywhere.
3) “I’m damn proud of my ivy league education” -Statement quoted in an article by Sandra Tan
Truthiness: Stefan claims to have an Ivy League education, but what he means is that he got a Bachelors in Journalism from Syracuse University and then took a weekend class at Harvard. And that his campaign contributors paid for it.
4) “In my 20 years of journalism experience…” - League of Women Voters
Truthiness: Stefan is 42 and has served as Comptroller for 5 years. He hasn’t been in an official journalism position in ten years. Even if he began working as an intern, it’s clear that his math is ALL kinds of messed up here. Is he trying to look older? More refined? More experienced? Regardless, it’s embarrassing.
5) “I’ve completed multiple audits…”- To Buffalo News and Others
Truthiness: Stefan is not an accountant, but if he were he’d know that reviewing a single process or a minute corner of an office’s function is not an audit at all. When we demand full compliance and financial audits of the Sheriff’s Office, we mean an exhaustive audit, not just for a press release, but to avoid the loss of human lives and millions of dollars.
6) “Under my leadership our office was awarded...” - Frequent campaign statement
Truthiness: Stefan often likes to brag about his role implementing change in the department, starting with receiving an award for the year 2012. The problem? Stefan didn’t take office in 2012. He was elected in November and took his oath even later. This is an award for the year in which he did no work. And if awards were being given, why aren’t they listed on the website’s awards section?
7) “I implemented the (insert thing accomplished by a previous comptroller)!” -Frequent campaign statement
Truthiness: Whether it’s Poloncarz’s risk matrix, or Shenk’s Water Authority audit, Stefan spends a lot of time criticizing Democrats and even more time taking credit for their work.