Ogdensburg rejects investigation of mayor

Ogdensburg Mayor Jeffery M. Skelly

OGDENSBURG — Mayor Jeffrey M. Skelly has formally been charged with harassment in connection with an incident where he allegedly pushed a former city fire captain to the ground outside City Hall last year.

Mayor Skelly, 61, was charged by state police Wednesday with second-degree harassment, state police Troop B Public Information Officer Jennifer Fleishman confirmed Thursday. He was issued a summons returnable to Fowler Town Court on March 16.

Mayor Skelly said Thursday that he plans to fight the charge.

“It’s not true and I’m going to fight it,” Mayor Skelly said.

According to a complaint filed Dec. 29 of last year in City Court, Mayor Skelly is alleged to have physically harassed a person outside City Hall on Dec. 9, 2020. It was later confirmed the person allegedly pushed by the mayor was now-retired Fire Capt. Gerald H. Mack. The incident was also reportedly caught on camera.

Even though police began investigating shortly before the complaint was filed in December, the case was moved from City Court to Canton Town Court after justices recused themselves. Once the case was in Canton, more justices recused themselves, resulting in the case being kicked back to St. Lawrence County Court Judge Gregory P. Storie in order to determine a viable local court option. The case was then moved to Fowler Town Court.

The Ogdensburg Police Department, then state police, were called to City Hall ahead of the Dec. 9 special meeting as councilors met to pass the 2021 city budget. Dozens of demonstrators concerned about staffing cuts to the city fire department lined Ford and Caroline streets in protest that night. With the passing of the budget, seven positions were eliminated from the fire department.

Five layoff notices were issued, instead of seven, and later executed Jan. 1 as Mr. Mack opted for retirement and another firefighter was out on leave, but four of the five men laid off have since been brought back to work.

Jacob Thornton is the last remaining laid-off firefighter.

Describing the altercation that day, Mayor Skelly previously told the Times he was wrongfully accused of pushing Mr. Mack, who he remembers saying, “If you touch me you are getting arrested.”

The mayor said Mr. Mack was blocking his path, then fell to the ground and claimed he had been pushed.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Assistant Managing Editor

In her role as assistant managing editor, Sydney manages the photo department, social media accounts and NNY360.com. She also covers the city of Ogdensburg, as well as the state and federal court systems.

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(8) comments

DJT

Looks like civil servants just keep going!!!! The swamp is upset

Earlybird

The facts will prevail in court over the Mayor's lies. Why hasn't his past arrests come up?

Eagle24

Who cares...Sounds more like a school yard incident... give them both detention and put in time out.. Move on... seriously...

Crazybuttrue

How is this guy still in office. What a disgrace!!! This is embarrassing for OGDENSBURG.

Rook03

Prior violence in the work place complaints, PD arbiter found him in violation of breaking city charter, and 2nd degree harassment charges...obviously the law doesnt apply to “Mayor” Mike.

DJT

Show the proof!

Green Grace

Says "on camera."

Rook03

Matter of public record...recently released video from a FOIL request shows the mayor admitting to at least 2 complaints. With Jelly-bear in his pocket, there is no effective system of “Checks and Balance” at city hall.

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