The unofficial first canvass of votes shows us losing 5,015 (35%) to 9,358 (65%).
The bad news is that the status quo continues in Syracuse.
The good news is that 35% is by far the best citywide vote Greens have yet received in the city. The previous best was the 12% I received last year citywide in the governor's race.
The other Green citywide candidates for Councilor-At-Large and Commissioner of Education received votes from between 24% and 29% of the voters in those multi-seat races. See the full results here.
These are results we can build upon.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to our campaign.
We will be back.
-- Howie Hawkins
The main issue in the City Auditor's race is simple. Marty Masterpole hasn't done the job. Howie Hawkins will. Masterpole has failed to fulfill his responsibilities as City Auditor under the city charter and city budget. This race is a voters' audit of the City Auditor.
Howie Hawkins, a Green Party member, will provide checks and balances on city government where Democrats now hold every elected office. Hawkins will have the independence to perform audits that may be unwelcome by some, but can help the Mayor, Common Council, and city departments and agencies do their jobs better and will inform the citizens of Syracuse.
From a lifetime working on construction sites and loading docks, Howie Hawkins knows you have to work hard to keep your job. The current city auditor, Marty Masterpole, is not doing the job. Howie Hawkins will.
Hawkins will meet the auditing requirements of the city charter and budget. The city budget expects 8 financial audits and 3 special audits per year. Masterpole has produced only 4 audits a year since taking office in 2012, far fewer than his 2004-2011 predecessor (see the published audits).
The city charter expects monthly audits of the Department of Finance; annual audits of all city departments, the school district, and the housing authority; and an external audit of the auditing department every other year. None of these charter requirements are being met. Hawkins will work hard to meet the expectations of the city charter and budget.
The city charter requires the hiring of a Deputy City Auditor who is a professional – a Certified Public Accountant or a professional with at least three years experience in municipal auditing. Masterpole hired a crony for Deputy Auditor who is not qualified. He pushed out an 11-year supervisory civil service auditor by eliminating her $56,000 position and then offering to hire her back as an entry level auditor at $43,000. His budget provides for a staff of four, but he has hired only three. I will hire a qualified Deputy City Auditor and quality civil service staff so that the City Auditor's Office has the capacity to do audits that meet current U.S. Government Auditing Standards.
Howie Hawkins will bring best practices from other public auditors to Syracuse:
- Checkbook Syracuse –a Syracuse version of New York City's award-winning online "Checkbook NYC" transparency tool that tracks the budget, revenue, spending, payroll, and contracts, including minority and women's business enterprise contracts, in real time
- Environmental Audits – assessing the city's risk for liabilities for violations of environmental laws and regulations and progress towards its environmental goals
- Social and Environmental Indicators – tracking indicators of economic welfare and environmental sustainability in order to better monitor how city policies impact city economic and environmental goals, like reducing unemployment and carbon emissions.
High Priority Special Audits
An important component of the City Auditor's job is to identify risks and recommend actions to reduce risks. Howie Hawkins will prioritize special audits that will have the most impact on the future of Syracuse, such as:
- Timeliness of Financial Reports – how to improve timeliness and accuracy of financial reports
- Annual Analytical Budget Audit – complement to external financial audits providing analysis and recommendations concerning year-end budget variances, such as the $19.7 million education and $7.5 million public safety surpluses in FY 2013-14
- Long Term Fiscal Outlook – projections and options for sustainable revenues
- Annual Tax Expenditure (Tax Breaks, "Corporate Welfare") Report – costs and benefits
- Consolidation – evaluations of City/County shared service agreements and consolidations
- Annual Living Wage Report (including city agencies and contractors not covered by the Living Wage Law)
- School Receivership – the fiscal and employment impact of 18 of 34 city schools being taken into receivership by the New York State Education Department for likely privatization as charter schools.
- Broadband Services – follow up on the 2008 Time Warner Cable Franchise Audit as well as assessing the impact Verizon's failure to build out FIOS across the city and city options for broadband services.
- School Segregation – race and class segregation in city school attendance zones and between city and suburban districts.
- Predatory Lending and Community Reinvestment Act Compliance
- Implementation and Monitoring of the Equal Employment Opportunity Program
- Costs of Drug Law Enforcement – updating the 2003 Audit of the costs of drug law enforcement by the Police Department
- Ban the Box – implementation of the 2014 "Ban the Box" ordinance
Open Communications and Transparency
Howie Hawkins will institute an open door policy to encourage communications from and to the people of Syracuse. Residents will be encouraged to write, phone or stop by the office whenever they want to ask questions or make recommendations.
Hawkins will hold neighborhood meetings to report on the work of the City Auditor's Office and listen to residents' concerns.
He will also convene an advisory committee of auditing, accounting, financial, legal, and policy experts to help the City Auditor's Office do the best job possible.
2015 Syracuse Green Party Candidates