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John Kennedy once backed Suffolk audit committee

The Suffolk comptroller now criticizes a three-member panel he headed last year as a waste of time.

Suffolk County Comptroller John M. Kennedy Jr., seen

Suffolk County Comptroller John M. Kennedy Jr., seen here on April 10 in Islandia. Photo Credit: James Carbone

Suffolk County Comptroller John M. Kennedy Jr. last week criticized a local law that created a three-member audit committee, which was required to meet quarterly and report within 30 days on their discussions, as “defective as written.”

But a review of county legislative records shows that Kennedy, when he was Republican minority leader in the legislature, not only voted for the law in 2014, but seconded it to allow it to come up for a vote.

Kennedy leveled the attack after it was disclosed that when he was chairman of the audit committee last year, he did not schedule any meetings or produce any reports.

Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who is weighing a run against Kennedy, said Kennedy’s “flagrant disregard for the law” sends a bad message to those the comptroller audits.

“If he thinks it’s a bad law, as a former lawmaker, he knows what it takes to change it and make it better,” Schneiderman said.

In response, Kennedy said, “I stand by my original position that an audit committee made up of people who create the budget lacks the independence” to audit.

Kennedy said that although he has voted on thousands of resolutions, “with the knowledge I’ve gained in the last 3 1⁄2 years as comptroller, there are a few times including the audit committee where I would have changed my vote.”

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