OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - There’s another call for the mayor and his three council allies to resign in Ogdensburg. It comes following an arbitrator’s finding the city charter was violated.
An arbitrator ruled the way police layoffs were ordered violates the Ogdensburg city charter. Three council members say that means the mayor and others who voted for the layoffs have to resign.
“So the public is crying right now that these guys need to step down which is exactly what the charter says,” said Dan Skamperle, Ogdensburg city councilor.
On May 6, by a 4-3 vote, the council ordered then-City Manager Sarah Purdy to lay off four police officers in a cost-cutting move. She refused. The officers subsequently left for other jobs. Skamperle said Mayor Mike Skelly and his allies were warned.
“It’s too bad these four guys didn’t heed our warning and not go through with what they did,” he said.
Skamperle and councilors Nichole Kennedy and Mike Powers say, according to the charter, anyone who voted yes that night must forfeit their office. Others say that’s just counterproductive.
“It certainly isn’t grounds for any councilor to consider resigning. Certainly it’s not any grounds for council to consider removing anybody,” said City Manager Stephen Jellie.
It’s not yet on the agenda, but Skamperle says a resolution to remove the four will be discussed at Monday’s meeting.
There was another part to this arbitration. It had to do with an incident where Skelly flagged down two police officers after one of them photographed him leaving an ice cream shop.
The union contended Skelly talking to the officers violated the city charter. The arbitrator said because of the widespread hostility surrounding local politics, he was unable to make a ruling on how to apply the charter to the situation.