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Poloncarz blasts Collins' campaign

County executive candidate Mark Poloncarz Friday accused Republican incumbent Chris Collins' campaign of using "insulting and misleading language" to question his fiscal abilities as comptroller.

"For Chris Collins to make an attack like this is both disingenuous and dishonest," said spokesman Peter Anderson. "It's well-known that Chris Collins gutted the Office of the Comptroller, eliminating numerous positions in an effort to avoid transparency and accountability."

The Collins campaign on Thursday took aim at Poloncarz for hiring outside financial advisers, while pointing out his predecessors relied on in-house staffers. Collins spokesman Stefan Mychajliw said the move resulted in expense to taxpayers.

But Anderson said when Collins took office in 2008, the Comptroller's Office had 48 employees. By 2011, that number was reduced to 27, he said. He added that included in those cuts were both associate deputy comptrollers, one of which performed the financial advisory function Collins criticized the Comptroller's Office as unable to perform on its own.

"These cuts were politically motivated calculations to undermine the credibility of the Comptroller's Office, calculations that obviously didn't add up for Chris Collins," Anderson said. "Criticizing the Comptroller's Office after specifically targeting it for huge budget cuts is like shooting someone in the foot and criticizing them for limping."

Anderson also said Poloncarz transformed the Audit Division into an inspector general-style organization that has conducted more than 50 major audits and reviews identifying more than $30 million in tax dollar savings.

e-mail: rmccarthy@buffnews.com