The City Comptroller is the Chief Financial Officer for the city whose primary duty is to guarantee the financial soundness of the city by advising the Mayor, the City Council and the people about fiscal responsibility. He makes recommendations concerning financial transactions or other fiscal matters after conducting audits of the operations of city agencies. In other words, he ensures that New Yorkers’ hard-earned tax dollars do not go wasted.
The Comptroller is required to invest the city pension funds, approve contracts and also oversee the budget. As New York City has the largest municipal budget and pension fund in the country, this is a huge responsibility. The comptroller is elected by the city residents for a 4-year term and can serve up to 3 terms as of the 2008 term limits extension passed by the NYC Council. Term limits were extended for not only the Comptroller, but also the Mayor, Public Advocate, and City Council Members.
The position of Comptroller was first created in 1801 as an appointive office and was not directly elected by the people until 1884. Finally, in 1938 the Comptroller led an autonomous part of the New York City government’s executive branch, along with the Mayor, the Public Advocate and the five Borough Presidents. The Comptroller served on the New York City Board of Estimate, along with the Mayor, the President of the City Council and the 5 Borough Presidents until that body was found unconstitutional in 1989.
The current City Comptroller is Scott Stringer, a democrat, who is serving in his first term.