HAUPPAUGE - The proposed merger of Suffolk County's offices of the treasurer and comptroller have critics worried that taxpayers could be losing their fiscal watchdog.

County Executive Steve Bellone is seeking to abolish the treasurer's office that's currently run by Angie Carpenter, the Republican who unsuccessfully ran against him for the executive seat. Supporters say that the move will streamline government and save county money.

Critics argue that it will water down the watchdog role that the comptroller's office is supposed to fulfill, and some even claim that politics are at play. Under the plan, current County Comptroller Joseph Sawicki could run for 12 more years as the head of a newly formed agency, even though the term limit for his current office will be up in 2014.

Sawicki denies any sort of political dealings. "The voters have to approve this in November," he says. "I don't know if I'll run for this position. Angie Carpenter has every right to run for it, as does anyone else."