The well-documented friction between Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is a product of the offices they hold, DiNapoli said in a radio interview set to air this weekend.
DiNapoli, interviewed on WAMC-FM’s Capitol Connection, was asked by host Alan Chartock if the tension between the two offices had been smoothed over. DiNapoli and Cuomo have clashed on a handful of issues since the governor took office in 2011, including a law to reduce pension benefits for new state employees and budget language to reduce DiNapoli’s pre-audit controls.
“As I’ve always said when people ask the question, as comptroller my responsibility is to be an independent voice, and I take that role very seriously,” DiNapoli said. “I said that’s what I was going to seek to be when I was appointed by the Legislature.”
“We’re going to be on parallel tracks in trying to move the state forward, but we are independent of each other. I think some people view that independence as a source of friction beyond what it in fact is. We’re doing our job; he’s doing his. And I think New York is in a better place than it has been in a long time.”
The interview airs on WAMC on Friday at 10:30 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m.
Prodded by Chartock, DiNapoli also spoke out against the budget language that removed his ability to audit certain centralized contracts before they are signed by the state Office of General Services. The move, DiNapoli said, “made no sense.” Next year, DiNapoli said, he is hopeful there won’t be further attempts to curb his office’s audit abilities.
He steered clear when asked something of a curveball — Who would he vote for in a hypothetical presidential primary: Hillary Clinton or Andrew Cuomo?
“Alan, what have you been — I’m for Barack Obama, that’s what I’m focused on,” DiNapoli said. “I’m going to write in Chartock, that’s what I’m going to do.”