Auerbach and Sherman

“If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve.”

General William Sherman uttered those immortal words when offered the Republican nomination for president in 1880, But not county comptroller Elliott Auerbach.

Questioned on Monday about rumors that he, like Mike Hein, might vacate his position for a high-paying job in Albany, Auerbach would say only, “Nothing has been offered.”

This is not to say, which he didn’t, that conversations have taken place. I mean, these rumors have to spring from somewhere.

Pressed with “and what if something were offered? the comptroller responded, “Everything is on the table.”

A great kidder, Auerbach did express interest in “commissioner of skiing,” if it were offered, but unlike the Civil War general, did not take himself out of the game. More laughs followed with, “Maybe Mike and I could commute together.” If so, one of them would be hitch-hiking before the car cleared Saugerties.

This much we do know. Auerbach has long been tight with state comptroller Tom DiNapoli for years. Kindred spirits, they’ve been known to commiserate over the issues of dealing with an overbearing executive. But Auerbach seems to be wavering, telling friends and supporters that he’d like the opportunity to serve under an executive not named Mike, if only for a short while.

“I’ve given some thought to serving in the executive branch, but again, I haven’t been asked,” he said. 

I don’t know if Auerbach is going or not, but if he is, deadlines are closing in. The county charter dictates that if a comptroller leaves office the county legislature will appoint a successor at the earliest date. This year, that means April 2, according to Auerbach, an authority on the charter. The interim appointee will serve until the election of a successor in November.

So, the wheels are going around. Whether they head to Albany remains to be seen.

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