New York City Comptroller
|Comptroller of the City of New York|
|Term length||4 years (renewable)|
|Formation||1801 (1898 consolidated City)|
|Website||New York City Office of the Comptroller website|
The Office of Comptroller of New York City is the chief fiscal officer and chief auditing officer of the city. The comptroller is elected, citywide, to a four-year term and can hold office for three consecutive terms. The current comptroller is Democrat John Liu, formerly a member of the New York City Council. Liu was elected on November 3, 2009.
The comptroller is responsible for auditing the performance and finances of city agencies, making recommendations regarding proposed contracts, issuing reports on the state of the city economy, marketing and selling municipal bonds, managing city debt, and serving as managing trustee of the public employees pensions funds. As managing trustee, the comptroller presides over the boards of the funds, along with managing assets. Overall fund governance is with boards of the individual funds.
The office was created as an appointive office in 1801. Thirty years later, the Comptroller became head of the department of finance. In 1884 the office became elective, and in 1938 the comptroller became head of a separate, independent department of the City's government. Until it was found unconstitutional in 1989, the Comptroller served on the eight-member New York City Board of Estimate, which was composed of the Mayor of New York City, the Comptroller and the President of the New York City Council, each of whom was elected citywide and had two votes, and the five Borough presidents, each having one vote.
If vacancies should simultaneously occur in the offices of Mayor of New York City and New York City Public Advocate (formerly President of the City Council or Board of Aldermen), the Comptroller would become Acting Mayor. These have been the three offices elected city-wide, so traditional practice has tried to balance a winning three-candidate ticket among the City's different ethnic, religious and political interests (and, more recently, between the sexes). But, while there is a delicate interaction between the campaigns for the three offices, the actual election results can sometimes differ quite markedly. (For examples of three such municipal tickets, see the article about Alan Hevesi).
The Democratic nominee in the 2009 general election, John Liu won 76% of the citywide vote on Tuesday, November 3. The Republican nominee, Joseph Mendola, won 19.3%; the Conservative nominee, Stuart Avrick, 2.5%; and others 2.3%.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer won the September 10, 2013 Democratic primary with 52% of the vote, defeating former New York State Governor, Eliot Spitzer, who had been forced to resign as governor over various scandals. Former Wall Street financier John Burnett was unopposed as the Republican candidate in 2013. The Libertarian Party has nominated Hesham El-Meligy as their candidate for the office. In a prior convention, since declared invalid, they had nominated Kristin Davis, who decided not to challenge the new convention's outcome.
Comptrollers of the City of New York since Consolidation (1898)
- 1898–1901 Bird S. Coler
- 1902–1905 Edward M. Grout
- 1906–1908 Herman A. Metz
- 1910–1917 W. A. Pendergast
- 1918–1925 Charles Lacy Craig
- 1926–1932 Charles W. Berry
- 1933 George McAneny
- 1934 Arthur Cunningham
- 1935 Joseph D. McGoldrick
- 1936–1937 Frank J. Taylor
- 1938–1945 Joseph D. McGoldrick
- 1946–1953 Lazarus Joseph
- 1954–1961 Lawrence E. Gerosa
- 1962–1965 Abraham D. Beame
- 1966–1969 Mario Procaccino
- 1970–1973 Abraham D. Beame
- 1974–1989 Harrison J. Goldin
- 1990–1993 Elizabeth Holtzman
- 1994–2001 Alan G. Hevesi
- 2002–2009 William Thompson
- 2010–2013 John Liu
- 2014– Scott Stringer (elect)
- The New York Times coverage of the 2009 NYC Comptroller race, September 29, 2009; retrieved September 26, 2013.
- Coverage of the 2009 NYC Comptroller race, manhattan.about.com
- 2009 New York City Comptroller election results, The New York Times, published and retrieved November 3, 2009.
- Eliot Spitzer fails in his New York political comeback attempt, Reuters, published and retrieved September 11, 2013.
- Article on "comptroller" by Noel C. Garelick in The Encyclopedia of New York City, edited by Kenneth T. Jackson (Yale University Press and The New-York Historical Society, New Haven, Connecticut, 1995; ISBN 0-300-05536-6)