Protestors call for most Ogdensburg lawmakers to step down

Resignation calls in Ogdensburg

OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - Protestors in Ogdensburg were calling for the majority of the city council to step down.

The calls were coming from outside Ogdensburg City Hall -- and from city councillors inside Monday’s meeting, too.

Some people, like members of a group called Citizens Watch, want Mayor Mike Skelly, and councillors John Rishe, Steven Fisher, and Willaim Dillabough to step down.

This council voted four to three back in May 6 to direct the city manager to lay off police office along with a number of other positions,” Citizens Watch member David Price said. “In doing so, they violated the charter.”

Those calling for the faction’s ouster, like Price, who is a former city councillor, point to a phrase in the city charter that states the city council can’t dictate the appointment or removal of employees. And those who violate that must forfeit their office.

An arbitrator in a union grievance now says laying off the four police officers last May was illegal.

But Rishe disagrees.

“From my perspective, there was no violation of the charter. That’s a different interpretation he came up with,” Rishe said. “I don’t even think that he had the authority on an arbitration decision. He’s not a lawyer.”

In the absence of the four stepping down, Price says the people are ready to take legal action.

“We’re prepared to go to New York State Supreme Court and using an article 78, remove them from office,” Price said.

Ogdensburg city manager Stephen Jellie told 7 News Monday that the council’s vote last May was “the absolute correct interpretation at the time.”

While Skelly didn’t weigh in on stepping down in Monday’s meeting, he says the fighting among councillors is hurting the city.

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