KINGSTON, NY – Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency officials have filed court papers to overturn a subpoena from County Comptroller March Gallagher searching for documents related to composting and sales.
The case was filed in the state Supreme Court on June 18, alleging that the only agency with oversight of the Garbage Department is the State Audit Bureau and the State Bureau of Treasury.
“If the comptroller’s summons is not lifted, their actions would lead to a slippery increase in unlawful power and authority,” wrote agency lawyer Jacob Lamme.
The agency’s filing also denies Gallagher’s allegations that the county comptroller has the authority to ensure compliance with the terms of the contract, including contracts to use $ 237,000 for composting programs as well as the contract for the agency to dispose of solid waste.
“Both contracts clearly preclude the auditor from having any authority or jurisdiction over the UCRRA,” Lamme wrote.
In the court records, officials included a 20-page memorandum informing the court that the agency’s creation in 1992 made no reference to the role of county comptroller.
However, the position of auditor was not established until 2009. The county administrator’s oversight position was abolished the same year the county became executive.
The agency’s file claims that the “Agreement openly omits the auditor, while explicitly mentioning the county legislature, the county administrator’s office, and the treasurer’s office. If the contracting parties wanted to grant the comptroller a supervisory or financial supervisory authority, this would certainly have been expressly stated in the agreement. “
Gallagher has been looking for documents after the agency has reported complaints about employee Willie Whittaker’s preference in selling composting material, violating a contract that does not cause “odors, waste, pollutants or other negative effects” in composting operations, and failure to use the material to sell, had caught up with a market price.
Gallagher said during a phone interview that the agency is demonstrating the same stance of noncompliance to avoid repaying the $ 37 million in net service fee grants accumulated through 2013.
“They are supposed to work to pay back the net service fees that the county paid (but) instead we have a manager and attorney there who don’t think the agency needs to maximize profits,” she said.