Demonstration draws attention to workplace violence at Ogdensburg City Hall

WWNY Demonstration draws attention to workplace violence at Ogdensburg City Hall

OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - Tensions have been running high in Ogdensburg and some people want to know what’s being done about complaints of workplace violence in city government.

About 24 people demonstrated Monday evening to draw attention to allegations of workplace violence at city hall.

“We knew that the workplace violence incidents were building. We let them handle it on their own. Here we are in December. Nothing has been done,” said Cynthia Layng of Ogdensburg.

Most of the allegations stem from incidents involving Mayor Mike Skelly on two days in May. Three were filed by police officers. Two by city hall employees. Skelly thinks he knows what’s behind it.

“A lot of changes. A lot of changes people don’t want and emotions have ran high from it,” he said.

The allegations against Skelly were brought as people protested cuts to the police department. City Manager Stephen Jellie said he is still working to resolve the complaints.

“I think individually the complaints we received were bona fide. I think this renewed effort by some members of the public is just to kind of drag up old issues,” said Jellie.

It’s not just Mayor Skelly accused. Jellie has also alleged workplace violence directed at him on two separate occasions by firefighters.

The firefighters union points out Jellie both receives the complaints and metes out consequences.

“I think the process is questionable. It seems to put management completely in control and it really hinders the rights of employees,” said Jason Bouchard, Professional Firefighters Local 1799 president.

Tensions are likely to remain high at city hall. The Skelly Administration will soon unveil a revised budget proposal.

That budget will call for deep cuts to the fire department. It’s scheduled for a vote Wednesday.

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