Utica Comptroller candidates count down

By Joleen Ferris

Both candidates in Utica's City Comptroller race spent the 24 hours before polls open reaching out to voters and talking about the qualifications that make them the best person to oversee Utica's finances

"As a businessman, and I have multiple business interests in the Midwest and here, I deal with banks all the time so I'm very familiar with dealing with banks," Democrat Bill Morehouse said. "Math has always been one of my strong suits, but you bring in an expert deputy comptroller. You bring in a CPA."

"I've prepared, administered and balanced 25 budgets for the Department of Solid Waste for Madison County, multi-million dollar budgets," said James Zecca, also a Democrat. "I do understand the finances, municipal finances, municipal budgets."

Morehouse disputes that qualification.

"Mr. Zecca is very disingenuous. He has two accountants who do all his number crunching in Madison County, so when he says he does those budgets, it's disingenuous and this is the way Mr. Zecca has been through the whole campaign," says Morehouse.

"Well, I'm glad he understands the finances of Madison County, because I've been doing that for 25 years and I've had direct involvement," Zecca said. "I had to prepare my own budget." 

With two Democrats running for the same seat, Morehouse posed the question on the minds of many.

"The wild card is the Republicans, because they have no horse in the race. And the question is, what are the republicans going to do?" says Morehouse.

Zecca, too, has considered this question.

"We reached out to the Republican Party and at that point in time they really didn't want to come out with a full endorsement of any candidates, but we did talk to a number of Republicans and I did get a group of Republicans who came out in support my my campaign," he said.

The two candidates, worlds apart on some issues, once again form a consensus on one.

"I hope people get out and vote. It's an off-year election. It's going to be a beautiful day tomorrow, beautiful day. You have from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. There's no excuse not to vote. There really isn't," says Morehouse.

"No matter how they vote, it really doesn't matter, but they really need to voice their opinion and the way to do that is get out and vote," says Zecca.

Jim Zecca is on the Democrat and Utica United Party lines; Morehouse is on the Independence Party line.

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