McCarthy said when the Muller administration presents the 2015 budget to commissioners next fall, it will have to demonstrate to their satisfaction that cuts have been made – “with numbers that will be true.”

“I am mindful of your priorities, as well as the overriding priority, which is to make sure the services we need to provide get delivered,” said the appointee.

Commissioner David Jones, a Democrat, came to McCarthy’s defense on the budget. Jones charged that Ott and Mazziotti were asking McCarthy: “You didn’t see it the way I see it. Will you see it the way I see it in the future?”

Said Jones: “We have philosophical differences about what government should do and how government should be funded.”

Jones reminded Ott that he didn’t win the election but Muller did.

“You have a different administration with a different philosophy. And the administrator he chose is going to reflect that. Does the executive who’s won the election have the liberty to decide the make-up of his cabinet?”

Said Mazziotti: “We have a responsibility to then confirm or not confirm.”

Said Jones: “It would be disingenuous to exercise that responsibility by looking to shape an administration from another party with a set of philosophical views in your image.”

Asked Mazziotti: “It you think a $10-million deficit is unacceptable, and you’re not willing to cut spending, what implication should I draw from that? It’s not inappropriate to ask that question of somebody who’s going to be responsible for the budget.

“If you’re not in favor of a big deficit why aren’t you willing to cut? Or why aren’t you recommending a tax increase?”

Muller told commissioners: “Ultimately, the budget that comes forward is the county executive’s budget. It’s not the director of administration’s.”

Ott asked McCarthy: “How’s a nice guy like you going to go toe-to-toe with Jim Martin and get him to minimize costs even more than he’s already done?”

Said Muller: “I’m not bashful about going up against Jim Martin or anybody else.”

McCarthy’s future pension

Mazziotti said McCarthy’s county pension will increase ten-fold if he becomes director of administration and asked Muller what that cost will be to taxpayers.

Said Muller: “I did not take that into account.”

McCarthy stressed he is taking the position “not to retire, but to go to work.”

The new executive said McCarthy probably gets a substantially better pension as a lawyer, but he is giving up his law practice. McCarthy confirmed the county’s pension is generous, but less than his “pension opportunities” if he would continues in his private law practice.

Mazziotti claimed the 65-year-old McCarthy’s county pension will be $25,000 a year if he works for four years.

Muller responded: “I would disagree with the specifics of your number, but it’s substantial.” Muller promised commissioners to provide the correct numbers.

Mazziotti also estimated if Muller hired someone else as administrator, who was not already eligible for a pension for serving 12 years as a county commissioner, that person would only get an annual pension of about $6,000 after four years.

Muller said that number is low. And he suggested someone else hired as administrator might demand a considerably higher annual salary than the $94,740 McCarthy will be paid..

Muller stresses McCarthy’s strengths

Muller told commissioners: “I hope you’ll share my enthusiasm for Dan. I’ve worked with Dan for eight years now. He’s got good managerial insight…and a broad range of background from what he’s handled in his legal career.”

Muller said McCarthy will bring “a whole new view of things” to his administration, adding: “I’ve tended to surround myself over the years with people who do look at things differently.”