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WatchSonoma Watch

David Sundstrom, Gary Wysocky face off at candidates’ forum

The two candidates for Sonoma County auditor-controller-treasurer-tax collector clashed Sunday over the very nature of the job.

Incumbent David Sundstrom said the person charged with complex administrative duties including overseeing $1.5 billion in investments should steer clear of politics.

While challenger Gary Wysocky, a Santa Rosa City Councilman, expressed a willingness to use the office as a bully pulpit for community issues.

At a candidates’ forum attended by about 30 people, Wysocky said the job is “not rocket science” while offering opinions on varied topics such as the shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a sheriff’s deputy and farmworker pay.

“You may say this is not a political position but it is,” Wysocky said in the forum at Community Baptist Church. “An elected position is a political position. That’s what trust is all about.”

Sundstrom responded repeatedly that the issues were not within the scope of his office.

“This is not a policy position,” Sundstrom said. “And it is not now nor should it ever be a political position.”

The job includes collecting and apportioning property taxes, managing how the county, cities, school districts invest their money and auditing county departments and special districts to ensure they are complying with financial standards and safeguards.

Sundstrom, 61, a CPA and 35-year public servant, was hired from a similar post in Orange County in 2011. Sundstrom’s salary in 2013 was $215,935.

Wysocky, 57, is a private CPA and community watchdog who was first elected to the council in 2008.

Both agreed on some key issues, such as the need to put aside adequate funds for county pensions, to be accessible and for transparency in financial dealings.

Sundstrom said he’s made significant improvements since arriving from Orange County that have returned millions of dollars to county programs. He said his years of experience and track record of achievement made him best suited for the job.

Wysocky suggested he could do better. He said he’s proven he’s not afraid to stand up to powerful people with the truth.

“I do have a backbone,” Wysocky said. “I’ve shown that in my six years as a public servant.”

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com





6 Responses to “David Sundstrom, Gary Wysocky face off at candidates’ forum”

  1. PapaESoCo says:

    Guess you folks wrote in supporting Sundstrom prior to the big PD piece on the total botch job with new accounting system and County-wide Special Fire Districts, huh? The PD did not come right out and say it, but i will: Total responsibility for the Botch up falls directly on Sundstrom. Wysocky may be a bit prickly, but I bet you he will be a better steward of our hard earned Tax dollars. Enough said.

  2. Wysocky Spin says:

    A year ago, Wysocky participated in a cover up of the waste of taxpayer funds. Now the cadidates spins and postures as if he is committd to open government.

    http://www.watchsonomacounty.com/2013/06/cities/golis-sr-council-had-a-bad-bad-week/

    Here is an excerpt:

    The council did not disclose the payment — for reasons all of us can understand. The council had screwed up; the outcome was embarrassing.
    ”..
    A Press Democrat editorial aptly described the city’s imaginative etymology as “the nonsense of the city’s games and word parsing.”
    Yes, government will, from time to time, dance around its responsibilities to make full disclosure. Sometimes, the obligations prescribed by law are judged to be inconvenient. It’s such a bother to keep the public informed.
    Other times, the obligation requires disclosures that government would rather keep to itself. To choose an example at random: How about the loss of $327,000?
    It remains that government is not a disinterested party when it comes to interpreting its responsibilities under the law — and its responsibilities to the governed. This is true in Washington, it is true in Sacramento, and it is true in Santa Rosa, California.
    This episode also reminds us that elected officials try hard to be invisible when embarrassments come along. Fowler did all the talking, as if she were the only person in the room when the city decided it was saddled with a lost cause.
    But Fowler didn’t make these decisions; the City Council did; and the City Council should be accountable for them.
    In case you forgot their names, here are the current members of the Santa Rosa City Council: Mayor Scott Bartley, Vice Mayor Erin Carlstrom, Julie Combs, Ernesto Olivares, Jake Ours, Robin Swinth and Gary Wysocky. (Politicians love to get their names in the paper.)

  3. Wysocky A Hypocrite With Spin says:

    One year ago, Wysocky was in excutive session and voted to cover up an hide financial information from the public. When campaigning, he sings a different tune. The real Wysocky is all about posturing and spin.

    http://www.watchsonomacounty.com/2013/06/cities/golis-sr-council-had-a-bad-bad-week/

    Here is an excerpt:

    The council did not disclose the payment — for reasons all of us can understand. The council had screwed up; the outcome was embarrassing.
    Along the way, City Attorney Caroline Fowler tried to persuade us the council didn’t make a decision when it made a decision.
    Or, as Humpty Dumpty said, “When I use a word … it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
    A Press Democrat editorial aptly described the city’s imaginative etymology as “the nonsense of the city’s games and word parsing.”
    Yes, government will, from time to time, dance around its responsibilities to make full disclosure. Sometimes, the obligations prescribed by law are judged to be inconvenient. It’s such a bother to keep the public informed.
    Other times, the obligation requires disclosures that government would rather keep to itself. To choose an example at random: How about the loss of $327,000?
    It remains that government is not a disinterested party when it comes to interpreting its responsibilities under the law — and its responsibilities to the governed. This is true in Washington, it is true in Sacramento, and it is true in Santa Rosa, California.
    This episode also reminds us that elected officials try hard to be invisible when embarrassments come along. Fowler did all the talking, as if she were the only person in the room when the city decided it was saddled with a lost cause.
    But Fowler didn’t make these decisions; the City Council did; and the City Council should be accountable for them.
    In case you forgot their names, here are the current members of the Santa Rosa City Council: Mayor Scott Bartley, Vice Mayor Erin Carlstrom, Julie Combs, Ernesto Olivares, Jake Ours, Robin Swinth and Gary Wysocky. (Politicians love to get their names in the paper.)
    For folks who value good government, it’s important to note that Santa Rosans only know about this waste of public funds because this hometown newspaper and Staff Writer Kevin McCallum were doing their jobs.

  4. Desperate Wysocky says:

    In the past few days Wysocky has been hitching his star to Fudge and Carlstrom in slate mailers produced by Carlstrom & her husband Nick Caston’s company. What does that suggest? Wysocky needs to associate himself with someone much less controversial and more popular than he is.

  5. lindsy says:

    I’m excited to watch the election heat up. Thanks for writing this piece.

  6. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Wysocky is for me as he is a fiscally conservative Democrat. He is outspoken and lets the public know what’s going on. As a voter I don’t want secrets and back room deals.

    Sundstrom’s record south worries me. Look it up and you decide. But I don’t want this county owing millions of dollars to the state because of an unwise decision he makes.