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Aubertine accepts post as assistant to state comptroller

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Cape Vincent resident Darrel J. Aubertine announced Wednesday he has accepted a position at the office of the state comptroller as special assistant for external affairs, and will start the job today.

Mr. Aubertine, 60, last week announced his resignation as commissioner of the state Department of Agriculture and Markets; Wednesday was his last day on the job.

Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli created the external affairs position to provide direct guidance to distressed municipalities, Mr. Aubertine said. He also will be responsible for leading outreach programs for public and private organizations, and projects involving economic development, K-12 and higher education, agriculture and affordable housing.

The former chairman of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators said his experience serving municipalities was a factor in the hiring decision.

“I’ll be working with municipalities, school districts and business organizations to have a more streamlined dialogue with the comptroller’s office,” Mr. Aubertine said. “Any of those organizations that might be in distress in any way, especially in the rural areas of the state, I can help to be a conduit between them and the comptroller’s office.”

Long in the making, the external affairs position is part of a larger strategy by the comptroller to provide guidance to municipalities, Mr. Aubertine said. He said he believes his experience as a local government official in the north country will help him understand the challenges municipalities are facing. Along with his time as a Jefferson County legislator, he served on the Cape Vincent Town Council and as a state senator.

“My roots go back to local government,” he said, adding that he plans to take a hands-on approach to the job. “I will be the guy who might facilitate a team coming in to do something other than an audit to help municipalities.”

Mr. DiNapoli, who served with Mr. Aubertine as members of the state Assembly, described the Democrat as a strong leader who will tackle policy issues head-on.

“Darrel’s impressive career in government, coupled with his ability to find common-sense solutions to complex issues, will greatly enhance our efforts to address the challenges faced by our local communities and broaden our policy efforts on a wide range of issues,” Mr. DiNapoli said in a release. “Darrel values collaboration and is deeply committed to finding ways to keep our economy and rural communities strong, while maximizing taxpayer dollars.”

Mr. Aubertine earned a salary of $120,080 as the commissioner of Ag & Markets, a position he held since 2011. He will make $135,000 at the comptroller’s office.

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