Democratic Rockland County Executive candidate David Fried
said outside contractors have no place in county government. He specifically
named the post of county negotiator as one that should be eliminated.
At a press conference Thursday, he was joined by Sheriff Lou Falco and representatives of several law enforcement organizations that previously endorsed him. Former Sheriff James Kralik also endorsed him. Fried said he opposes the concept of using outside contractors. He said the expertise should exist in house not through the use of expensive consultants that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions.
“Across the county government there is a huge reliance on outside consultants and I think that it’s unnecessary,” said Fried. “And the way that you deal with that is by appointing a smart government not a political government,” said Fried.
Fried said the county attorney’s office should work like a law firm and its staff should handle routine matters of government like contracts, planning and legislation internally. If elected, he said he and his transition team would review every outside contract to determine which are not necessary and which are required. He said that would be an early priority.
“One of the key ingredients is you have to cut unnecessary spending and one of the important ways that can be accomplished is by bringing the tasks of government back inside the government and not having the outside consultants,” said Fried.
He said the public would be updated on the status of the contracts as they are reviewed. He said county government cannot keep functioning the way it has for the past 20 years.
Another financial issue he spoke about was the Rockland Deficit Financing Act, which was approved by the state legislature and sent to the governor in June. His opinion is the governor is waiting to see what action the county legislature will take to solve the deficit problem. County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef submitted his proposed 2014 budget on Wednesday, which included the expectation that the $96 million deficit bond would be approved.
“I think he’s waiting for the county legislature to do its job because you can’t take a $96 million loan without having a plan of how to move forward,” said Fried. “The $96 million would come in it would temporarily fill the gap. It would create debt for the county. Now that debt could be sustainable but only if you have a plan to restructure government so that you don’t immediately start the process of recreating the deficit.”