OGDENSBURG — A special City Council meeting ended chaotically Monday night when two councilors walked out and the mayor smacked his gavel to adjourn. The entire meeting lasted about 25 minutes and no agenda items were voted on.
City Manager Stephen P. Jellie was giving five of seven council members an update from the New York State Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments when things started to go awry. Councilors Michael B. Powers and John A. Rishe were not in attendance.
Councilor Nichole L. Kennedy was asking Mr. Jellie a question about police dispatch services when Mayor Jeffrey M. Skelly interrupted her. She proceeded to call the mayor out before continuing to talk.
The mayor then smacked his gavel, pointed it toward the back of council chambers at Gerald H. Mack, a former city fire captain, and said to Mr. Jellie, “Steve, he’s gonna have to be removed.
“I’ve given this group a year and a half to act responsibly and they continue to act like animals,” the mayor said after the meeting Monday night. “It’s time they start being adults.”
Mrs. Kennedy rebuffed the mayor’s comments after the meeting, adding that the night’s events were “pathetic.”
“We can’t even have a council meeting,” she said. “There is no respect, and that’s the issue.”
The councilor said she was trying to ask “legitimate” questions about police dispatch, but said, “I couldn’t even get my questions out.
“It’s just unfortunate that’s the leadership that’s been voted into our city,” Mrs. Kennedy said.
There were five items on Monday’s meeting agenda that Mr. Jellie said were important pieces of city business.
“It’s unfortunate that we were not able to complete the business of the city this evening,” Mr. Jellie said via text message Monday night. “The Mayor acted in the interest of public safety in shutting down the meeting. Mr. Mack continues to do all he can to be disruptive and impede the progress of the City, he won’t be successful and those that truly care about the City should encourage him to cease. The City’s financials are improving, property values are increasing and taxes are being cut so people can afford to live in Ogdensburg.”
When Mayor Skelly pointed his gavel at Mr. Mack and demanded his removal, Mr. Mack replied, “For what? I’m sitting here; I haven’t said a damn word.”
“Remove him,” the mayor replied, adding that Mr. Mack was “making faces” at him during the meeting.
“I will stop the meeting if he isn’t removed,” the mayor said. “I’m not going ahead.”
“Well I will because I was talking,” Mrs. Kennedy replied.
The mayor continued to smack his gavel before saying again, “I’m gonna stop the meeting.”
Mrs. Kennedy looked at fellow Councilor Daniel E. Skamperle and said, “Let’s go.” The two councilors then proceeded to walk out of the City Hall council chambers.
The mayor adjourned the meeting without any agenda items being voted on. Mr. Jellie said those items will be added to next week’s regularly scheduled August City Council meeting.