New York State Comptroller
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Thomas DiNapoli

since February 7, 2007
Department of Audit and Control[1]
Term lengthFour years
Constituting instrumentNew York Constitution, Executive Law
First holderSamuel Jones
Salary$210,000 (2019)
WebsiteOfficial website

The New York State Comptroller is an elected constitutional officer of the U.S. state of New York and head of the New York state government's Department of Audit and Control.[2] The New York State Comptroller is the highest-paid state auditor or treasurer in the country. Sixty-one individuals have held the office of State Comptroller since statehood. The incumbent is Thomas DiNapoli, a Democrat.

Powers and duties

The State Comptroller is in effect New York's chief fiscal officer. Article V, Section 1, of the New York Constitution requires the State Comptroller "to audit all vouchers before payment and all official accounts", "to audit the accrual and collection of all revenues and receipts", and "to prescribe such methods of accounting as are necessary for the performance of the foregoing duties". Furthermore, the State Constitution vests the safekeeping and protection of all state funds in the State Comptroller, stating: "[t]he payment of any money of the state, or of any money under its control, or the refund of any money paid to the state, except upon audit by the comptroller, shall be void..."[3] In accordance with this constitutional framework, the State Comptroller has broad superintending authority unlike any other state auditor or treasurer in the nation to ensure that state agencies and local governments alike use taxpayer money effectively and efficiently to promote the common good. For example, the State Comptroller:

  1. Serves as sole trustee of the $258.1 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund (value as of March 31, 2021), making the State Comptroller and his or her Department of Audit and Control one of the largest institutional investors in the world;
  2. Administers the New York State and Local Retirement System for public employees, with more than one million members, retirees and beneficiaries and more than 3,000 employers;
  3. Prescribes and maintains the state's accounting system and administers the State’s approximately $16.7 billion payroll;
  4. Reports on the condition of the state's finances;
  5. Manages and issues the state debt;
  6. Reviews state contracts and audits payments to vendors;
  7. Conducts financial, compliance, and performance audits of local governments, state agencies, and public benefit corporations;
  8. Oversees the fiscal affairs of local governments, including New York City, and prescribes uniform systems of accounts, budgets, and financial reports therefor;
  9. Investigates waste, fraud, and abuse of public resources;
  10. Stewards the Justice Court Fund and the Oil Spill Fund;
  11. Functions as custodian of more than $17 billion in unclaimed funds, restoring lost accounts to their rightful owners; and
  12. Holds training conferences and provides technical assistance to improve state and local government operations.[4]


In 1776, the New York Provincial Congress appointed an Auditor-General to settle the public accounts. After his resignation, the Council of Appointment appointed an Auditor to succeed. In 1797, the office of the State Comptroller was created by the State Legislature to succeed the State Auditor. The Comptroller was appointed by the Council of Appointment to a one-year term, and could be re-appointed without term limit. In 1800, the Legislature reduced the salary of the Comptroller from $3,000 to $2,500, and Samuel Jones declined to be re-appointed.

Under the Constitution of 1821, the Comptroller was elected by joint ballot of the New York State Legislature to a three-year term. Under the Constitution of 1846, the office became elective by general election, and the Comptroller was elected with the other state cabinet officers in odd years to a two-year term, serving in the second year of the governor in office and the first year of the succeeding governor. The comptroller was elected in 1895 to a three-year term, and subsequently the state officers were elected in even years and served a two-year term concurrently with the governor. In 1926, the responsibilities of the New York State Treasurer were transferred to the Comptroller as the head of the Department of Audit and Control. Since 1938, the comptroller has been elected to a four-year term, like the governor.

New York State Comptrollers

Name Took office Left office Party Notes
Comfort Sands July 24, 1776 March 23, 1782 as Auditor-General [5]
Peter T. Curtenius April 2, 1782 1797 as Auditor
Samuel Jones March 15, 1797 March 12, 1800
John Vernon Henry March 12, 1800 August 10, 1801 Federalist
Elisha Jenkins August 10, 1801 March 16, 1806 Dem.-Rep. appointed Secretary of State
Archibald McIntyre March 26, 1806 February 12, 1821 Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
John Savage February 12, 1821 January 29, 1823 Dem.-Rep. appointed Chief Justice of the New York Supreme Court
William L. Marcy February 13, 1823 January 21, 1829 Dem.-Rep./Bucktail appointed to the New York Supreme Court shortly before the end of his second term
Silas Wright January 27, 1829 January 7, 1833 Democratic elected a U.S. Senator from New York during his second term
Azariah C. Flagg January 11, 1833 February 4, 1839 Democratic two terms
Bates Cooke February 4, 1839 January 1841 Whig resigned because of bad health
John A. Collier January 27, 1841 February 7, 1842 Whig elected to a term of three years, but in 1842 all Whig state officers were removed by Democratic majority of the State Legislature
Azariah C. Flagg February 7, 1842 December 31, 1847 Democratic two terms, legislated out of office by the Constitution of 1846
Millard Fillmore January 1, 1848 February 20, 1849 Whig first Comptroller elected by general ballot; went on to be U.S. Vice President and President
Washington Hunt February 20, 1849 December 18, 1850 Whig elected by the State Legislature to fill unexpired term, then re-elected, then elected Governor of New York
Philo C. Fuller December 18, 1850 December 31, 1851 Whig appointed to fill unexpired term
John C. Wright January 1, 1852 December 31, 1853 Democratic
James M. Cook January 1, 1854 December 31, 1855 Whig
Lorenzo Burrows January 1, 1856 December 31, 1857 American
Sanford E. Church January 1, 1858 December 31, 1859 Democratic
Robert Denniston January 1, 1860 December 31, 1861 Republican
Lucius Robinson January 1, 1862 December 31, 1865 Union two terms
Thomas Hillhouse January 1, 1866 December 31, 1867 Republican
William F. Allen January 1, 1868 July 1, 1870 Democratic elected a judge of the New York Court of Appeals
Asher P. Nichols July 1, 1870 December 31, 1871 Democratic appointed to fill unexpired term, elected for the remainder of the term in Nov. 1870
Nelson K. Hopkins January 1, 1872 December 31, 1875 Republican two terms
Lucius Robinson January 1, 1876 December 31, 1876 Democratic elected Governor of New York
Frederic P. Olcott January 1, 1877 December 31, 1879 Democratic appointed to fill unexpired term, then elected for a full term in Nov. 1877
James W. Wadsworth January 1, 1880 December 31, 1881 Republican
Ira Davenport January 1, 1882 December 31, 1883 Republican
Alfred C. Chapin January 1, 1884 December 31, 1887 Democratic two terms
Edward Wemple January 1, 1888 December 31, 1891 Democratic two terms
Frank Campbell January 1, 1892 December 31, 1893 Democratic
James A. Roberts January 1, 1894 December 31, 1898 Republican two terms (1894–95, 1896–98)
William J. Morgan January 1, 1899 September 5, 1900 Republican died in office
Theodore P. Gilman September 5, 1900 December 31, 1900 Republican as First Deputy Comptroller acted until being appointed to fill unexpired term
Erastus C. Knight January 1, 1901 December 28, 1901 Republican elected Mayor of Buffalo
Nathan L. Miller December 30, 1901 November 1903 Republican appointed to fill unexpired term, then elected for a full term in Nov. 1902, then resigned to take office as a justice of the New York Supreme Court
Otto Kelsey November 12, 1903 May 2, 1906 Republican appointed to fill unexpired term, then elected for a full term in Nov. 1904, then appointed Superintendent of Insurance
William C. Wilson May 2, 1906 December 31, 1906 Republican as First Deputy Comptroller acted until being appointed on November 8 to fill unexpired term
Martin H. Glynn January 1, 1907 December 31, 1908 Democratic
Charles H. Gaus January 1, 1909 October 31, 1909 Republican died in office
Otto Kelsey October 31, 1909 November 11, 1909 Republican as First Deputy Comptroller acted until the appointment of a successor
Clark Williams November 11, 1909 December 31, 1910 Republican appointed to fill unexpired term
William Sohmer January 1, 1911 December 31, 1914 Democratic two terms
Eugene M. Travis January 1, 1915 December 31, 1920 Republican three terms
James A. Wendell January 1, 1921 May 10, 1922 Republican died in office
William J. Maier May 10, 1922 December 31, 1922 Republican as First Deputy Comptroller acted until being appointed on May 22 to fill unexpired term
James W. Fleming January 1, 1923 December 31, 1924 Democratic
Vincent B. Murphy January 1, 1925 December 31, 1926 Republican
Morris S. Tremaine January 1, 1927 October 12, 1941 Democratic seven terms, died in office
Harry D. Yates October 12, 1941 October 17, 1941 Democratic as First Deputy Comptroller acted until the appointment of a successor
Joseph V. O'Leary October 17, 1941 December 31, 1942 American Labor appointed to fill unexpired term
Frank C. Moore January 1, 1943 December 31, 1950 Republican two terms
J. Raymond McGovern January 1, 1951 December 31, 1954 Republican
Arthur Levitt Sr. January 1, 1955 December 31, 1978 Democratic six terms, longest-serving Comptroller (24 years)
Edward Regan January 1, 1979 May 7, 1993 Republican resigned in the middle of his fourth term
Carl McCall May 7, 1993 December 31, 2002 Democratic elected by State Legislature to fill unexpired term, then re-elected twice
Alan Hevesi January 1, 2003 December 22, 2006 Democratic re-elected to a second term, but resigned prior to its commencement[6]
Thomas Sanzillo December 22, 2006 February 7, 2007 as First Deputy Comptroller acted until the election of a successor by the State Legislature
Thomas DiNapoli February 7, 2007 present Democratic elected by the State Legislature to fill unexpired term, then re-elected twice


  1. ^ Division of the Budget Agency Appropriations
  2. ^ Executive Law § 40. "There shall continue to be in the state government a department of audit and control. [...] The head of the department of audit and control shall be the comptroller. [...]"
  3. ^ "Article V, Section 1, New York Constitution" (PDF). New York Senate. Retrieved December 9, 2021.
  4. ^ "About the Comptroller's Office". Office of the New York State Comptroller. Retrieved December 9, 2021.
  5. ^ Google Books: The New York Civil List compiled by Franklin Benjamin Hough (page 34; Weed, Parsons and Co., 1858)
  6. ^ "Hevesi Resigns, Pleading Guilty to Fraud Count". The New York Times. 22 December 2006. Retrieved 12 March 2018.

See also