The race for Erie County Comptroller is heating up. The incumbent is being blasted by his challenger for allegedly costing county taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
An outside auditor hired by Erie County recently discovered that Verizon overbilled the county by about $900,000. Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw's challenger,Vanessa Glushefski, a Buffalo Democrat, says the error is something that Mychajliw should have caught.
"He is our watchdog and he is responsible for looking after our tax dollars and this is squarely within the purview of his role as the comptroller. He should be looking out for these kinds of things instead of talking about the bed bugs in the Rath Building," Glushefski said.
A Certified Public Accountant and an attorney, Glushefski says while some of the money will be returned, the county does have to pay a finders fee of around $216,000.
"This money that was wasted could have gone to childcare funding, which didn't get money in the budget this year, which people need in this county so that we have families that are thriving and breaking out of the cycle of poverty. We could have been using it for lead remediation, another problem, that is hounding our urban areas and suburban areas alike," Glushefski said.
Glushefski says she will be calling on the county Legislature to investigate Mychajliw.
Mychajliw's campaign office issued a written response saying, "Glushefski is simply wrong and uninformed. We realize it's tough for our opponent to question the county executive, because she's his handpicked candidate. That's why we need an independent Comptroller in county hall."