County treasurer, supervisors spar over auditing contract

QUEENSBURY - The battle for a lucrative auditing contract with Warren County heated-up further Jan. 16, as the full board of supervisors rescinded a resolution which had previously granted the external county audit to the large Albany municipal finance firm The Bonadio Group. The move to rescind stands as an opportunity for former state auditor and Queensbury accountant Richard DiNolfo to convince the board that he meets the requirements to do the job.

DiNolfo's bid was $6,000 lower than the $129,000 Bonadio offer, and the fact that the low bid was not accepted bothered many supervisors.

"I just don't feel comfortable with the reasons given as to why we accepted Bonadio's bid over Mr. DiNolfo's," Queensbury Supervisor-at-Large Bill VanNess said.

The discussion took a political turn when county treasurer and lone Democrat Francis O'Keefe, with indignant tone in his voice, explained his reasoning behind his staunch support of the Bonadio Group's bid.

"I do not believe Mr. DiNolfo meets the requirements," O'Keefe said as he addressed the board. "I do not form opinions based on political parties or friendships - we should not lower the standards for Warren County."

This statement prompted replies from supervisors who denied political bias or favoritism on their part.

"I am certainly not aware of any of the political affiliations Mr. DiNolfo has with either party," Board of Supervisor Chairman Fred Monroe said.

In the request for audit proposals, the county treasury department required 10 years of municipal single audit experience and a recent peer review of past work.

"Cleary, Mr. DiNolfo does not qualify based on the two provisions outlined in the RFP," Glens Falls Supervisor-at-Large Bill Kenny said.

Supervisors asked to see previous RFPs in order to see if new provisions were added as a means ensuring the Bonadio Group would win the three-year auditing contract.

"There is no way we rigged the RFP in order to bias the selection," Warren County Deputy Treasurer Robert Lynch said. "The current RFP is not word-for-word identical with previous ones - but the changes like a peer review are very important."

The vote to rescind passed with a 11-8 simple majority. The issue is scheduled to return to the county finance committee for further discussion.

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