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Brought in to help, Buffalo's deputy comptroller quits after just a month

Andrew SanFilippo, the former Buffalo comptroller who left a state post to return to City Hall as deputy comptroller under Barbara Miller-Williams, has resigned after just a month in the job.

SanFilippo, whose resignation was effective Friday, said he appreciated the opportunity Miller-Williams provided him to serve as her deputy, but he wants to spend more time with his family and friends and to "enjoy the next chapter of my life."

"I reached a point in my career where I felt now is the time professionally and personally," he told The Buffalo News on Monday.

But sources said – without providing details –  that the professional relationship between SanFilippo and Miller-Williams was not a great fit and that the two were not always on the same page.

Asked about that less than ideal fit, Miller-Williams said "as far as I am concerned there was an excellent professional relationship" and that "we were on one page, one team ... we were not on different pages."

In a statement Monday evening, she noted that SanFilippo "provided the staff with professional guidance that greatly benefited the department." She added that he "committed to stand ready to assist our department in any way in the future."

Miller-Williams, 63, a former Erie County legislator and political ally of Mayor Byron W. Brown, was appointed comptroller by the Common Council in April to fill a vacancy.

SanFilippo had been executive deputy state comptroller the past eight years when he resigned on July 5. He was appointed deputy city comptroller on July 9 in an "effort to add additional high level financial oversight experience" to the Comptroller's Office," Miller-Williams said in a statement at the time.

His City Hall appointment came shortly after a controversy when Miller-Williams' office issued a May 9 cautionary report that raised warning signs about the proposed 2019-20 budget, which was unanimously passed by the Council on May 16. A week later, on May 23, Miller-Williams filed a revised report that contained different revenue figures and was far less critical about the budget put forth by Brown. Miller-Williams later said the first report – which was written by a holdover staffer from previous Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder – was the right one, primarily because it was conservative and objective.

Miller-Williams later said she wrote the revised, more upbeat report herself – without any input from the Brown administration – based on her own analysis of concerns raised in the first report. The conflicting reports led some Council members to call the rosier scenario "fake," and say they would have been "in trouble" if they had relied on it.

A month later, Miller-Williams announced that SanFilippo, who was city comptroller for eight years before taking the Albany job in 2011, was coming back to City Hall as her deputy. She said, however, that talks with SanFilippo had been in the works long before the budget analyses fiasco and that his appointment was "an enhancement" to the office.

Now, a month later, SanFilippo, 68, has resigned from the city and is not returning to Albany.

"My immediate plans are to file for retirement," he said.

The budgeted annual salary for the city's deputy comptroller position is $105,252.

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