New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall recently fired five members of his senior staff, but a spokesman for the office will not say why.
The firings come nearly a month after McCall beat challenger Herbert London in the race for state comptroller. Sources close to McCall said the comptroller and his staff have been considering management changes for months, but decided to wait until the election was over.
The firings include four officials who stayed on with the comptroller's office after the state legislature appointed McCall in May of 1993 to fill the unexpired term of Edward V. Regan, and one senior official appointed by McCall himself.
Among those fired are: Cornelius Healy, assistant deputy comptroller for municipal affairs, and a former deputy comptroller under Regan; Jacqueline Sherin, assistant deputy comptroller, division of pre-audit and accounting operations; Melvin Rosenblat, director of the justice-court fund, and Catherine Dudley, administrator, office of unclaimed funds.
McCall also fired George Roniger, the director of the bureau of fiscal and economic analysis in the deputy comptroller's office for New York City. McCall hired Roniger following his appointment in May 1993. Both men worked together at Citibank, where McCall served as a vice president in government relations.
Spokesman Steven Greenberg confirmed the firings, but he would not elaborate on the reasons behind the moves or comment about who would replace those fired.
Greenberg also would not say if other members of the comptroller's team have been fired. "These are personnel decisions made between supervisors and employees," Greenberg said.
When asked if the firings were directed by McCall or his senior staff, Greenberg said: "They are made by deputy comptrollers."
Although the moves were described as simple adjustments to the comptroller's senior staff, McCall has run into problems when he has fired other personnel.
Three former analysts in the comptroller's New York City office are suing McCall for wrongful dismissal. They charge that he fired them in the summer of 1993 following a dispute over the tone and substance of their reports detailing the city's budget problems.
The recently fired officials could not be reached for comment. Roniger was one of several officials in the state comptroller's office deposed by lawyers representing the three analysts.
In his deposition, Roniger was critical of McCall's decision to help former New York City Mayor David N. Dinkins maintain the city's bond rating during the 1993 mayoral campaign by writing a letter to Standard & Poor's Corp.
According to the deposition obtained by The Bond Buyer, Roniger said: "As I recall from a distance, it was my view that the letter took too soft a position vis-a-vis the city."
Roniger later said that "in my view, the city's [fiscal] position was somewhat more difficult than what I recall the letter suggested."