OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - Stephen Jellie is expected to be named Ogdenburg’s permanent city manager when lawmakers meet Monday night, but not everyone seems to be happy about it.
The New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association (NYSPFFA) claims Jellie’s actions as interim city manager have repeatedly violated the rights of the city’s rank-and-file firefighters.
The union plans to make its case at a news conference at 4:30 p.m. Monday in front of city hall.
“In the short span of 80 days, the City Manager, who has no experience running a municipality or leading a civilian fire department, has undermined the safety of a proud North Country community that has been protected by career fire fighters for more than 150 years,” NYSPFFA president Sam Fresina said in a release.
Earlier this year, Mayor Mike Skelly floated the idea of turning the paid department into a volunteer unit.
The city council meets at 7 p.m.
City resident Mark Green said in an email over the weekend that he’s organizing a demonstration in front of city hall for 6:30 p.m.
He’s asking anyone who “believes strongly that the majority of the council appointing Stephen Jellie as the permanent is the wrong decision for our community” to voice their opposition.
“Appointing this person as the permanent city manager will destroy our community as well as harm the hard-working people of departments such as the fire and police departments,” Green wrote.
He says he wants the demonstration to be peaceful and “it is just meant to show the council how the people truly feel about the decisions they are making.”
Jellie was named interim city manager in July.
Jellie, who has extensive experience in firefighting in the U.S. government and the Army, is also serving as acting fire chief. He has ruffled feathers among firefighters when he updated protocols for handling emergency calls outside the city.
Firefighters also took issue with a memo from Jellie telling them they can’t talk to the media about fire department business without clearance from the city manager.