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February 7, 2007

 

DiNapoli Sworn in as New York State’s 54th Comptroller

Thomas P. DiNapoli was sworn in today as the 54th Comptroller of the State of New York.

“As State Comptroller, I will be a vigilant watchdog and will work hard every day to protect the taxpayers, promote efficiencies in state and local governments, and invest our resources wisely,” DiNapoli said. “I will be active in reforming government, and I will work tirelessly to restore the integrity and reputation of the Comptroller’s office.”

Throughout his years of public service, DiNapoli has been recognized as a thoughtful problem solver who has been able to bring people, communities and institutions together to tackle tough issues and find practical solutions.

Along with his extensive knowledge of state and local government, he worked in the private sector as a manager in the telecommunications industry. He was also an adjunct professor at Long Island University-CW Post College and Hofstra University.

A lifelong resident of Nassau County, DiNapoli currently resides in the village of Great Neck Plaza. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management from The New School University’s Graduate School of Management and Urban Professions (now called Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy) and a Bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in History from Hofstra University.

DiNapoli was first elected to the New York State Assembly in 1986, representing the 16th Assembly District in northwestern Nassau County. His strong working relationship with members from all political parties has enabled him to make important, long-lasting contributions to the people of New York State.

As a member of the Assembly Ways & Means committee for 15 years, he has extensive experience working on state budgets, budget reform, debt reform, and many other important statewide fiscal issues.

As chairman of the Local Governments Committee, DiNapoli worked with local government officials across New York State and has seen firsthand the constant fiscal challenges they face. He worked with the Comptroller’s office and state and local officials on a bipartisan basis on the creation of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, which helped Nassau County emerge from serious fiscal distress and restore fiscal responsibility. Today, the oversight role and financial plan requirements of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority serve as an effective model for how the state can assist localities in resolving fiscal challenges.

As chairman of the Governmental Operations Committee, DiNapoli gained extensive insight into operational and management issues in state agencies.

DiNapoli helped draft and pass stronger school district accountability laws in response to the scandals that exposed the theft of millions of taxpayer dollars on Long Island. He participated in the development of a comprehensive five-point plan to strengthen school district financial oversight. The plan:

  • Required six hours of training for school board members on their financial oversight responsibilities.
  • Established an internal audit function within each school district.
  • Created audit committees in school districts.
  • Mandated a competitive request-for-proposals process for selecting audit firms at least once every five years.
  • Improved the effectiveness of annual external audits by requiring direct school board involvement and a formal response to issues raised in the audit.

He has also sponsored bills to increase availability of absentee ballots for school elections, encourage sharing of administrative services among school districts and require a single voting day for Long Island’s school budget votes.

DiNapoli chaired the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee for five years and earned a reputation as one of the state’s leading voices on environmental issues. He secured passage of legislation for the nation’s first statutory phase-out of the ground water contaminant MtBE; pioneered Neighbor Notification, the first law in the nation to require surrounding neighbors to be notified before pesticides are used; and led efforts to refinance the state’s Superfund Program.

DiNapoli also co-authored legislation creating the new Brownfield Cleanup Program, which established the nation’s most protective cleanup standards and includes financial, legal and programmatic incentives to encourage the remediation and redevelopment of brownfield sites. During his tenure as chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, the funding for the State’s Environmental Protection Fund nearly doubled to $225 million.

DiNapoli first gained recognition in 1972 when, at the age of 18, he was elected a Trustee of the Mineola Board of Education – the youngest person in New York State to hold public office. This prompted the passage of legislation, signed into law by Governor Nelson Rockefeller, establishing the right of 18- to -21-year-olds to hold public office in New York State. DiNapoli served on the school board for ten years, including two terms as president.

The Comptroller’s responsibilities include auditing the spending practices of state agencies, state authorities and local governments, examining the New York State and City budgets, reviewing and approving all state contracts, managing the state retirement system, managing and investing the state’s $150 billion pension fund, and administering the New York Environmental Protection and Spill Compensation Fund.

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