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Changing the status quo in Sullivan County

January 23, 2013

Sullivan County is moving toward new goals of fiscal accountability and oversight of our tax dollars based on the people’s 2011 mandate for change. I, along with several of my colleagues, have been researching, questioning and overcoming hurdles of the “status quo” to move our county forward.

Sullivan County will now be addressing waste, fraud and abuse in our delivery of social services, while ensuring that our tax dollars provide for our needy. While federal and state mandates carry requirements for services, Sullivan County will now take a more active role with a county fraud investigative team to send a clear message that we will not tolerate abuses.

My work to examine contractual services has revealed areas where Sullivan County has been paying too much, due to a lack of oversight. Significant savings have recently been realized in transportation and for pharmaceuticals, with other areas being examined as well. Currently, I am working to formulate a Sullivan County Pharmaceutical Drug Policy to ensure that we capture savings through use of generic drugs and through possible rebates for which the county may be eligible.

In addressing budgetary issues, concerns have arisen regarding lack of information being made available to the legislature. With the county manager’s contract having expired on December 31, 2012, a bipartisan effort will move forward to redesign a government that works for all the people. One example of positive change is the proposal to change the budget deadline to give adequate time for review. In addition, I am recommending careful budget analysis at every committee meeting where decisions on tax appropriations are made. Sullivan County has, for too long, made decisions allowing expenditures to outpace revenues. This has resulted in a serious deficit, reduction in reserves and multimillion dollar bond requests. To gain better control of expenditures, a spreadsheet reflecting current month versus year-to-date cash flow would lead to more responsible decisions by the legislature.

Despite criticism from certain circles and apparent resistance to change, a move to redesign government within a framework we can afford is paramount. I am committed to continuing to examine all aspects of county government to move toward the path of economic stability.

Cindy Kurpil Gieger
Sullivan County Legislator