City’s audit chief abruptly fired

By Jim Heaney / Investigative Post

Comptroller Mark Schroeder fired the city’s chief auditor this afternoon for undisclosed reasons and ordered him to leave City Hall immediately.

Schroeder said he fired Darryl McPherson over an incident, rather than his work performance, but declined to go into details. McPherson, who served as chief auditor since 2007, has a history of drunk driving arrests, but Schroeder said the incident was not alcohol related.

“This is a work-related issue,” Schroeder told Investigative Post, which broke the story along with WGRZ, 2 On Your Side. “There was an incident that took place. It wasn’t work performance.”

The comptroller, who took office in January, said he summoned McPherson to his office about noon.

“I made a decision he was going to be terminated and asked him to leave the building. I told him I would meet him after hours so he could get his personal belongings (from his office),” Schroeder said.

McPherson, who was making $86,685, has headed up numerous investigations as chief auditor, including the One Sunset scandal and payments for health insurance coverage extended to dead employees. In recent months, he was looking into allegation some Common Council members misused city funds allocated for use in their districts.

McPherson was convicted of driving while impaired 12 years ago and again in 2007. Then, in August 2010, he pleaded guilty to aggravated driving while intoxicated after being arrested that February in Lancaster with a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit. He was fined $1,500 and ordered to continue counseling.

Then Comptroller Andrew  SanFilippo opted to keep McPherson on the job because he was seeking professional help, attending meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and doing”an outstanding job as city auditor,” said Tony Farina, the comptroller’s spokesman at the time.

McPherson began his City Hall career as an assistant corporation counsel for ten years. He served as chief legal counsel for the city’s financial  control board for 2 1/2 years before being hired as chief auditor.