Democratic Former City Officials Endorse Hawkins (Video)

Published on October 19, 2015

Video of the news conference

Howie Hawkins, the Green candidate for Syracuse City Auditor, received the endorsements today of a former deputy city auditor and two former city councilors.

The former city officials are Lawrence Bott, Deputy City Auditor from 2004 to 2010 and an analyst in the city budget office in the administrations of mayors Lee Alexander, Tom Young, and Roy Bernardi; Pat Hogan, a Democratic 2nd District Common Councilor from 2006 to 2013; and Lance Denno, who served as a Democratic Common Councilor for the 5th District and then Councilor-at-Large from 2008 to 2013. Denno is running for Councilor-at-Large in this year's election as a Green candidate.

The three former city officials made their endorsements at a news conference on Monday on Clinton Square with Hawkins, who is campaigning to bring independence, hard work, and professional staffing to the city auditor's office.

“Standing here this morning as the Green Party candidate for City Auditor to publicly receive the endorsement of these Democratic former city officials, I am reminded of the words of President John F. Kennedy in his book, Profiles in Courage: 'When party and officeholder differ as to how the national interest is to be served, we must place first the responsibility we owe not to our party or even to our constituents but to our individual consciences.' I want to thank these gentlemen for showing the strength of character to put their conscience, and the interests of the citizens of Syracuse, before party loyalty,” Hawkins said.

“As the former Deputy City Auditor,” Mr. Bott said, “I enthusiastically support Mr. Howie Hawkins in the upcoming election for Syracuse City Auditor. After observing the work ethic and the work product of the current City Auditor, I would urge voters to make a change in representation – a change that will result in greater independence and a clearer understanding of the scope of responsibilities of the elected auditor. Beyond a doubt, Mr. Hawkins is the individual who best embodies the integrity and political honesty needed to represent city residents as their independent voice in City Hall.”

Former councilor Hogan said, “In these challenging times the citizens of Syracuse needs a truly independent advocate for them as City Auditor. Howie Hawkins would give this office a new energy that would insure that public monies are spent in a manner most beneficial for the residents of our city. I urge my fellow Syracusans to vote for Howie Hawkins.”

In his endorsement statement, former councilor Denno said, “The office of Auditor, like the Common Council, is established in the City Charter as independent of the Executive branch. The reason for this independence is a matter of common sense, it is called checks and balances. When all elected officials belong to the same political party, and many are personally connected to the Executive branch, that independence must be called in to question. I’m supporting Hawkins for Auditor because he has the independence and professionalism to do the job in the manner expected by the Charter.”

Audit Priorities

Hawkins said they announced the endorsements at Clinton Square because the ice rink has been the subject of two audits, one by former City Auditor Phil LaTessa in 2005 and another by the incumbent auditor, Marty Masterpole, in 2013.

“A reading of those two audits shows how the quality of the audits has declined under Masterpole. Masterpole's second audit of the ice rink also raises the question of priorities. ,” Hawkins said.

“Nobody is moving out of the city because of the ice rink” Hawkins said. “People who can afford to move out because of struggling schools, high crime, and failing infrastructure. I want to prioritize audits and special projects that can help the Mayor, Common Council, and city departments and agencies better address these big problems that Syracuse faces.”

“Why did the school district run a surplus of $19.7 million in fiscal year 2013-14? Why wasn't a portion of that money spent in the classrooms and building the long-delayed $2.5 million playing field at Fowler High School? Why did the public safety sector run a $7.5 million surplus in fiscal year 2013-14 when Syracuse residents were calling for more for officers for beat-walking community policing to deter street crime? And why in this day and age does it typically take nine months for the city to prepare its financial statements? Does the delay in financial reporting mean the city and school district must hoard funds instead of spend them on critical areas likepublic safety and schools because they don't know where they stand financially in real time? These are some of the high-impact questions I want to prioritize as the city's auditor,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins is running to unseat the Democratic incumbent, Marty Masterpole, in a two-way race with no Republican on the ballot.