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Albany County officials battle over budget process

Other members of the finance and audit committee also disagreed with Mendick's take on the situation.

"On the night of the vote by the Legislature, he knew that we needed to balance the budget before sending it back to the executive. He helped identify a mistake that needed to be fixed. Now he's pretending it's criminal to balance the adopted budget. That doesn't make any sense to me, said Gary Domalewicz, D-Albany, a member of the audit and finance committee in a statement.

Commisso said Mendick is calling responsible finance, inappropriate.

"On top of it all, Mendick identified a mistake to staff that needed to be rectified and then cries foul when the mistake is fixed. Mendick is complaining about presenting the executive with a balanced spending plan, something necessary and understandable by anyone who understands accounting," Commisso said in a statement.

Albany County Comptroller Michael Conners said his office helps balance the budget after it is passed on from the legislature to the executive, and it is not abnormal to make sure expenses equal revenue.

He said the legislature works with an abbreviated document during its meeting to adopt a tentative budget, and sometimes there are discrepancies between that document and the actual budget, which is hundreds of pages long.

"There were errors in it that were corrected," he said.

Conners said Mendick's interpretation of the process is in error, and it is "absolutely not," the case that there was any intentional deception.

"I don't think it's correct or accurate," he said of Mendick's accusation.

Mary Duryea, a representative of Albany County Executive Mike Breslin, said Breslin's office was forwarded a copy of the official budget, and is considering a veto. Breslin has until Saturday, Dec. 12 to make a decision on the veto.

She said she could not comment specifically on the Legislatures procedure in forwarding a tentative budget.

"That's really an internal process between the members of the legislature," she said.

She acknowledged, though, that the executive budget office did notice some differences between the budget forwarded from the Legislature and the spreadsheet used at the meeting.

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