As we noted earlier, Democratic county executive candidate Mark Patrick Flaherty followed his opponent Rich Fitzgerald onto TV today. The spots are below.
The first focuses on his fiscal watchdog role as county controller. "I'm Mark Patrick Flaherty, and I know these days every penny counts."
The second is a series of voice-overs saying "Only One" candidate audited county agencies (that would be him) and instituted those weights-measures stickers you see on every gas pump in town. "Only one audited scales and gas pumps to protect to protect working people from being ripped off."
The Fitzgerald camp had this to say about the weights/measures claim:
County Controller Mark Patrick Flaherty used thousands of taxpayer dollars to print stickers to put his name on gas pumps, parking meters, and cash registers around Allegheny County. He also ran commercials in 2010 which were quickly criticized for being political and using county employees.
Their full statement on Flaherty's watchdogging as controller is after the jump:
PITTSBURGH: Today, Mark Patrick Flaherty released two ads in his campaign for County Executive touting his record of saving taxpayers’ money and improving services. Unlike Allegheny County Democratic-endorsed candidate and former County Council President Rich Fitzgerald, who never once increased his budget and fought to keep taxes low, Flaherty relies on duplicate audits and thousand of dollars worth of stickers to show his fiscal discipline.
First Claim: “Mark Patrick Flaherty… a champion for Allegheny County’s working families. A County Executive who will make every dollar count for us.”
Fact: While families around Allegheny County have tightened their belts just the opposite has taken place in the County Controller’s office. Since being elected in 2003, Flaherty has asked for an increase in the Controller’s office budget in each and every year including a 2010 request of $1.3 million or 23% more.
In 2004, the Controller’s office budget was $4.3 million and in 2010, the budget increased to more than $6.3million…an increase of almost 47%. [Allegheny County Operating Budgets, 2004-2010]
Yet, despite a larger budget every year, Flaherty requested a 2010 budget of $7.4 million. [Controller’s office 2010 budget request]
Fact: In a 2006 County Council meeting, Council Robinson noted that the County’s “fiscal watchdog” Controller Mark Patrick Flaherty had actually missed money in the fund.
“Overall, the county’s general fund balance increased in 2005 by $300,000. The exact figure in dollars, millions of dollars, was 18.1. Ms. Liptak (Budget Director) found some more money than Mr. Flaherty I guess didn’t find. [Allegheny County Council Meeting Minutes, 4/18/06]
Fact: Flaherty called for increasing revenue and opposed tax cuts until he decided to run for County Executive.
In 2004, Flaherty opposed cutting taxes, as Chief Executive Dan Onorato promised in his campaign, by $25 million. “I would caution against any tax decrease at this point,” he said. “Now is not the time to cut taxes. It is the time to cut expenses.” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5/13/04]
“The county needs to change our culture,” Flaherty said. “We need to figure out how to do more with less.” [Pittsburgh Tribune Review, 1/19/11]
Second Claim: “Only one candidate for Allegheny County Executive has been a champion of working people for 8 years as County Controller….and audited scales and gas pumps to protect working people from being ripped off.”
Facts: County Controller Mark Patrick Flaherty used thousands of taxpayer dollars to print stickers to put his name on gas pumps, parking meters, and cash registers around Allegheny County. He also ran commercials in 2010 which were quickly criticized for being political and using county employees.
“Some believe the ads are a maneuver to get Flaherty face-time and name recognition among voters…This isn’t like using taxpayer money for electioneering; the funds are Flaherty’s own. The trouble is that the ads might simply confuse voters as to their purpose.” [Pittsburgh City Paper, 8/11/10]