A former member of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors acknowledged Tuesday he was the whistleblower who made allegations about questionable bidding practices and inefficiencies that triggered a recent state audit of county government.
Bob McCarthy, the former Sidney town supervisor and a political maverick, acknowledged in an interview with The Daily Star that he was the catalyst for the critical audit on certain county financial practices that was issued by the state comptroller’s office last month.
McCarthy also confirmed he was the author of a widely disseminated email, released over the weekend, that made scathing criticisms of county government, alleging that it, specifically, and New York, in general, are beset with “widespread corruption.”
McCarthy also vowed to continue to encourage state agencies with investigative powers — such as the comptroller’s office and the attorney general’s office — to delve into what he contends is unethical activity in Delaware County government.
“I don’t want them to just drop everything and walk away like they always do,” he said of the state watchdogs. He insisted he has no political motivation and no intention to run again for town supervisor, but has become convinced that spending by county government has spiraled out of control.
“The most effective thing I did as supervisor was do research and send letters out to as many people I could find,” McCarthy said.
The state audit concluded Delaware County’s government has been lacking in proper oversight of third-party contracts awarded by the county, resulting in “heightened risk that services are not being provided in the most prudent and economical manner.”
The Delaware Board of Supervisors chairman, James Eisel Sr. of Harpersfield, said McCarthy’s jabs at county government lack merit.
“Bob seems to think we’re all corrupt and everything is under the table, and it’s just not so,” Eisel said.
He noted county officials are in the process of updating ethics codes and procurement protocols in response to the auditors’ findings.
McCarthy, in his email, took issue with the fact that Hamden Supervisor Wayne Marshfield, chairman of the social services committee, serves as treasurer of Delaware Opportunities, while his daughter-in-law works for the county agency he oversees and his wife works for a program supported by the agency.
Eisel said when relatives of county officials get county jobs, they must demonstrate their proficiency by successfully completing a probationary period of six to nine months just as all new staffers do.
“We’re a big family in Delaware County, and we have family members who work for us,” said Eisel. He described the relative of Marshfield who is employed at the social services department as highly competent.
McCarthy said he also drew the comptroller’s office attention to what he called excessive issuance of vehicles to county employees. A state audit on county-owned vehicles is expected to be issued soon, he said.
Eisel said the county has been tightening its policies on the vehicles, making sure that employees don’t get to keep them when they switch from field work to office duties, and taking vehicles back from staffers if it is determined they don’t need them to fulfill their duties.