My name is Andrew P. Wells, and I am a lifelong resident of Ogdensburg. I also am a former Ogdensburg chief of police.
After reading letters published on behalf of new Mayor Jeffrey M. Skelly, I feel obligated to respond. City governance in Ogdensburg has become a travesty. Mayor Skelly has now resorted to alleging a local “deep state” inside City Council, alleged the fabrication of facts by our Police Department with respect to recent incidents involving himself in furtherance of a conspiracy with City Hall and called individual councilors who disagree with him “a disgrace.”
This rhetoric, conspiracy-mongering and name-calling seem awfully familiar. He is supported by three newly elected councilors to the exclusion of three previously sitting councilors, who also were duly elected to represent the residents of Ogdensburg but are now rendered largely inconsequential.
New Councilor Steven Fisher, himself a retired police officer, has sat idly by as our Police Department and former colleagues have been falsely denigrated and a talented, young police chief feels compelled to retire.
Sarah Purdy, our competent city manager, has been forced out. I believe that new Councillor William Dillabough has been previously quoted as saying that she should have been fired in January. This lends credence to the thought that this act was pre-ordained, an action waiting for an excuse.
At least an interim city manager was named. Good luck to Andrea Smith! She’ll need it.
Actions and decisions are habitually made without sufficient thought or research, all in the name of the taxpayer. Given new Councilor John Rishe’s pre-election siren song of a 25 percent tax cut, which department does he intend to eliminate in its entirety: police, fire or public works?
Our charter mandates a city manager/council form of government. A smart decision would be to not leave the permanent city manager position vacant at least through years end, as Mayor Skelly has outlined, but to explore partnering with the city of Watertown where a new city manager search has already commenced. That at least would be truly in the taxpayers’ best interest.
Andrew P. Wells