Lindsay Lohan, Stephen Fiala

Days after it was discovered that $3.6 million was stolen from a government account under the watch of term-limited Comptroller Bill Thompson,
Independence Party activist Frank Morano — who has an interesting record of recruiting candidates — has sent out a letter urging Richmond County Clerk Stephen Fiala to run for comptroller on the Republican and Independence Party lines.

Morano’s letter almost certainly has more to do with riding a wave a bad press for Thompson than backing an eventual winner. But there it is.

UPDATE: The letter is after the jump.

– Azi Paybarah

To: THE HONORABLE STEPHEN J. FIALA

COMMISSIONER/COUNTY CLERK
COUNTY OF RICHMOND
COURTHOUSE
130 STUYVESANT PLACE
STATEN ISLAND, NY 10301

Dear Commissioner Fiala:

As an astute student of New York city government, you understand as well as anyone understand the importance of the position of New York City Comptroller. As the city’s chief financial officer, he enjoys a level of influence greater than most public officials in the country. Additionally, the comptroller’s stewardship of the city’s pension fund puts him in a position, where he is responsible for an enormous amount of money (over $105 Billion). Understanding how important this position is, you can also understand the need for a qualified, energetic and intelligent person to take the reigns of that office, when Bill Thompson is forced to leave the office due to term limits. That being said, I’ve come up with the perfect candidate for the job…you. I’m writing to you today in the hopes of persuading you to seriously entertain becoming a candidate for Comptroller in 2009.

Why you? You’re uniquely qualified for the job. For starters, the “chauffer-gate” scandal surrounding disgraced former State (and city) comptroller Alan Hevesi has underscored the need for a Comptroller who puts ethics, honesty and integrity above all else. I can’t think of a public official whose name is more synonymous with those values than you. As a constituent of yours, a keen observer of the court system and a friend, I know first hand that you’re in public service to “do good”, rather than to “do well”, which has been the case with far too many public officials. Additionally, having served in the New York City Council and on the Mayor’s Charter Revision Commission, you have extensive knowledge of city government–including the important work of helping to put together a city budget. This is more experience than some previous comptrollers could’ve claimed and would only help you be a better comptroller. Lastly, having been the County Clerk, you have experience running a large government office, with a large staff in an incredibly efficient and non-political manner. Most who’ve paid attention to the great work you’ve done since 2001, would agree that you have totally and completely transformed the way the County Clerk’s office does business in this state. In fact, I’ve heard you referred to as “the Yoda of County Clerks”, and I have no doubt that after your first term, you’ll be known as “The Yoda of Comptrollers”.

Assuming you recognize the substantial contributions you could make to the city as our comptroller, I realize that undertaking this race would require a great deal of sacrifice on your part and that as someone who currently holds a lifetime job, it wouldn’t necessarily be in your self interests to run. That being said, there’s too much at stake for you not to run. In the last two election cycles, there was only one major party candidate for Comptroller. This is an abomination. For the sake of your party and mine, we need a strong candidate. More important though, the voters of New York City deserve a contest. We need more voices and more choices as part of the process and you are our best hope for this office.

As you know, the campaigns for the citywide offices are already gearing up. Because the Democrats hold such a tremendous advantage in terms of registration, it’s important for you to get into the race as soon as possible and I would encourage you to do just that. To that end, unless you ask me not to, I will be launching a citywide effort to draft you into the race next month. I have no doubt that you will be able to build a broad coalition of New Yorkers across ideological lines (as Mike Bloomberg did) to beat the odds and become Comproller.

I look forward to discussing this further with you at your earliest convenience.

Thanks very much,

Frank Morano

NYS Independence Party

State Executive Committee Member