Mark J. F. SchroederCity ComptrollerIn his first term as the city's fiscal watchdog, Buffalo Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder has saved taxpayers more than $62 million by refinancing old debt, drafted legislation requiring a four-year financial plan, and performed audits that have led to more transparency and accountability in City Hall.
"My job is to protect the taxpayers of Buffalo, ensuring their tax dollars are spent wisely, efficiently, and in ways that will make their neighborhoods better places to live," said Schroeder. "In less than two years, we have been able to save the citizens of Buffalo millions of dollars through conservative fiscal management, an innovative approach toward managing debt and investments, and audits that uncover waste and fraud."
City's Fiscal Health
Under Schroeder's leadership as the chief fiscal officer of the city, Buffalo has received "Straight A" bond ratings from the three major credit rating agencies, including an A+ from Fitch Ratings, an A1 from Moody's Investor Services, and an A from Standard & Poor's. He has used these ratings in the bond market to borrow funds and refinance debt at the lowest interest rates in the City's history.
Schroeder has also worked with the University at Buffalo to improve efficiency at City Hall, and created the Watchdog Hotline, a phone number and website that allows citizens to anonymously report waste, fraud, and mismanagement in city government.
Mark J.F. Schroeder brought 25 years of private sector experience to the comptroller's office, in addition to a decade as an elected official, a role in which he earned a reputation as an independent, tireless voice for his constituents in the state capitol and county hall.
"If Teddy Roosevelt came back to life to oppose Mark Schroeder, we'd have to think long and hard before backing TR," said the Buffalo News, who also called Schroeder a "perpetual motion machine" with a "solid record of achievement" who "values the taxpayers' dollar" and "stands up for what he thinks is right."
Schroeder grew up in South Buffalo, attending Street Thomas Aquinas School before graduating from Public School #72 and Bishop Timon High School. He earned an Associate's degree from Erie Community College and a Bachelor's degree from Empire State College.
After serving as vice president of two large corporations, Schroeder left the corporate world to serve as a county legislator in 2002. Upon taking office, he immediately founded the South Buffalo Education Center, which offers free G.E.D. classes and computer and vocational training. More than 500 students have earned their G.E.D since the school first opened its doors ten years ago. Throughout his career in government, Schroeder has advocated that more resources and attention be devoted to adult education across the state.
The same year he opened the school, Schroeder also created The Greater South Buffalo Chamber of Commerce, which now has more than 300 members and holds several annual community events.
Schroeder was elected to the state Assembly in 2004, where he was widely known as an independent voice who would speak out on their behalf of his constituents, no matter what the consequences.
During his time in the Assembly, Schroeder wrote "Amanda's Law," which requires carbon monoxide detectors in all homes. The law was named after a teen in his district, Amanda Hansen, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning while at a sleepover at a friend's house. Schroeder also sponsored legislation banning text messaging while driving, a law safeguarding children from sexual predators, and a plan that would take the redistricting process out of the hands of politicians and give it to an independent panel. He also hosted an annual health fair in his district that offers free flu Shots, blood pressure screening, wellness tests, and other health care services.
Schroeder was also the chairman of the Assembly Subcommittee on Autism, and created an inclusive panel of mental health professionals, autism advocates, and concerned parents with the mission of providing for better care for those afflicted with the disorder.
During his time in the county legislature and the Assembly, Schroeder spearheaded major capital projects in his district. He teamed up with the Valley Community Association to construct a spectacular waterfront attraction, the Buffalo Riverfest Park, which opened last year in the city's historical Old First Ward neighborhood. The Seneca Street Redevelopment Project made major physical upgrades, including new street lights, benches, waste receptacles, and paving, to the streetscape on one of Buffalo's major commercial thoroughfares. He teamed up with the civic organization Can U Dig It to create the Irish Heritage District on Abbott Road, which celebrates the Celtic culture of the South Buffalo neighborhood with Irish language street signs and gateway signage.
Since his election to public office, Schroeder has earned a reputation as someone his constituents can turn to when they have a problem, whether it be minor or major. He has also worked to ensure that veterans, young and old, get the care and assistance that they deserve.
Schroeder, a lifelong City of Buffalo resident, has three children - Matthew, Michael, and Allison - with his wife Kate Horan Schroeder.
Anne Forti-SciarrinoDeputy ComptrollerFirst Deputy Comptroller Anne Forti-Sciarrino has more than 35 years of experience managing the city's finances, heading the city's accounting division before being named to her current post in 2012.
Forti-Sciarrino began her career with the city in 1976 as an Assistant Accountant, rising through the ranks to eventually lead the accounting division as City Accountant. During that span, she also served as Budget Examiner, Senior Accountant, Supervising Accountant, and Principal Accountant for the city. As City Accountant, she led a division of 24 employees and was responsible for all of the city's accounting functions, as well as preparing all financial reports.
Forti-Sciarrino earned her MBA from Canisius College in Buffalo, and has a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting from SUNY Fredonia. A member of the American Society of Women Accountants, Forti-Sciarrino is a past president of the organization's Buffalo chapter.
A lifelong resident of Buffalo, Forti-Sciarrino lives in the city with her husband Jim, and has two daughters, Sarah and Laura.
William D. FergusonCity Accountant, CPAA certified public accountant with more than two decades of experience, William D. Ferguson brings a private sector and public accounting background to the Department of Audit and Control's accounting division.
Prior to being named the city's top accountant, Ferguson was a director at a large local CPA firm, focusing on governmental, real estate, and non-profit clients. This followed his tenure as Corporate Controller and Underwriter at a local real estate company. Ferguson earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration at the University at Buffalo's Registered Accounting Program, and spent more than a decade working at two of the "Big 4" international accounting firms, attaining the position of Senior Manager.
He lives in Buffalo with his wife and their three children.
Kevin KaufmanCity Auditor, CPAThe city's chief auditor, Kevin Kaufman is a certified public accountant with more than a decade of experience in the private sector as controller, auditor, accountant, and tax analyst.
Prior to the joining the city, Kaufman served as controller for both Brown & Kelly, a large local law firm, and MVP Network Consulting. He also was Senior Tax Analyst for Sodexho, Audit Manager at Dansa & D'arata LLP, and Senior Accountant with Chiampou, Travis and Dansa LLP.
Kaufman earned a Bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Central Florida. He lives in Buffalo.
Gregg S. SzymanskiInvestment and Debt Management Officer, CPAAs Investment and Debt Management Officer, certified public accountant Gregg Szymanski heads the division that manages the city's bank accounts bond sales.
Prior to coming to the public sector, Gregg served 12 years as the Financial Director at Supportive Services Corp., a non-profit agency that administered programs funded by federal, state, and local governments. Before his tenure at Supportive Services Corp., Szymanski spent 5 years at Toski, Schaefer & Co., a local accounting firm that specialized in governmental and non-profit clients. Szymanski also worked at Benderson Development Company and M&T Mortgage Corporation.
He earned an Associates Degree in Business Administration from Erie Community College and a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from Daemen College. He lives in Buffalo with his wife and daughter.
Patrick J. CurryExecutive Assistant to the ComptrollerWith experience in city, county, and state government, Patrick J. Curry has been a top adviser to Comptroller Schroeder for more than a decade, in addition to being a published journalist and public relations specialist. Curry is responsible for all media relations, press releases, graphic design, website management, and is the Comptroller's liaison to the Common Council and other governmental entities. He also serves as Host and Executive Producer of the Comptroller's Corner television show on Channel 22.
Prior to joining the comptroller's office, Curry served as Chief of Staff for Schroeder during his four terms in the New York State Assembly. As Chief of Staff, Curry was responsible for overseeing all communications, public relations, legislation, constituent service, and capital projects for Schroeder. He had similar responsibilities when Schroeder was an Erie County Legislator, serving as his Communications Director.
A grandson of Irish immigrants, Curry was born and raised in Buffalo, graduating from City Honors School before earning a Bachelor's Degree from the University at Albany in just over three years. As a reporter for The Record, a daily newspaper out of Troy, NY, Curry wrote 45 published articles, 16 on the front page, during a five-month internship. Also published on the front pages of The Record's Region, Money, and Education sections, Curry covered local and national politics, crime, health care, education, business, technology, weather, and human interest stories for the newspaper. Curry has broadcast experience in both television and radio. He was an intern on CNN's Connie Chung Tonight, in the network's New York City Bureau, and was the host of The Pat Curry Show, a weekly radio program on WHLD- a.m. in Buffalo that discussed politics, sports, and current events.
Curry serves on the board of directors for the South Buffalo Education Center, which offers free GED test preparation, vocational training programs, and computer classes. An avid rugby player, Curry formerly served as Vice President of the South Buffalo Rugby Football Club, and continues to be involved with the team, both as a player and a member of the executive committee. Curry has done pro-bono writing and public relations work for the South Buffalo Education Center and South Buffalo Rugby Club, and has written several articles for the Greater South Buffalo Chamber of Commerce's business directories and newsletters. Curry lives in Buffalo with his wife, Katie, and their two children, Kevin and Evelyn.
Claire WaldronSpecial Assistant to the Comptroller, CPAAs Special Assistant to the Comptroller, Claire Waldron leads an effort to improve efficiency in city government by implementing financial controls and best practices. Her background as a certified public accountant and former corporate controller gives her the expertise to oversee these long-term projects.
Previous to joining the City of Buffalo in 2012, Waldron spent more than a decade as controller for the Weinberg Campus, where she was responsible for all financial reporting for the multi-function health care company. She also served as senior accountant for Deloitte & Touche, where she had extensive experience in accounting, audit, and consulting.
She earned a Bachelor's degree in Accounting from the University at Buffalo after graduating from City Honors School. She lives in Buffalo with her husband and two sons.