OGDENSBURG – The city of Ogdensburg has retained a law firm to represent itself and its mayor against a federal lawsuit filed by residents claiming their constitutional rights were violated after being stranded on the Mayor’s Facebook page.
In a statement released Friday night, City Manager Stephen P. Jellie said the city has retained the law firm Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP, to represent both Mayor Jeffrey M. Skelly and the city against a lawsuit in justice filed on August 20 in the United States. District Court, Plattsburgh, by what he calls a small group of “local government disruptors” in Cynthia Layng, Douglas Loffler, Brian Mitchell and Angela McRoberts.
Residents of the city are represented by the Albany law firm Gleason, Dunn, Walsh & O’Shea. The plaintiffs allege that the mayor’s act of “blocking” citizens from participating in ongoing discussions regarding city affairs and policies “constitutes point of view discrimination in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the State Constitution. -Unis ”, according to the complaint.
“The City will vigorously defend itself and the mayor against these accusations and remain confident that all of its actions taken since January 2020 are in the best interest of the entire city, it is the taxpayers and residents and more importantly, they uphold the law, ”wrote M. Gelée.
Mr Jellie claims these ‘disruptors’ are attacking the city government because they are angry with the 2019 election where Mayor Wayne Ashley and Councilors David Price and Jennifer Stevenson were defeated.
“Since taking office in January 2020, Mayor Jeffrey M. Skelly and the majority city council have received a challenge for each of the steps taken to save the city from financial ruin and eliminate the cronyism and mismanagement that reigned under it. previous administration. For months, this group has searched in vain for a “quick fix” to force the resignation or removal of the mayor and majority councilors, “Jellie wrote.
Mr Jellie concluded his statement by saying the city will not be intimidated by calls to boycott the city’s businesses and individuals “who support change” and that it will “not allow privileged employee unions to control the financial future of the city ”.
“This behavior is not that of citizens expressing concern and participating in government, it is simply weak attempts to instill fear, create anxiety and disrupt progress in a city that needs drastic changes to survive and finally come back to life, ”he concluded.
Court documents indicate that plaintiffs are demanding a jury trial and that plaintiffs seek an “injunction” prohibiting Mr. Skelly from blocking them from his Facebook profile as well as compensatory and punitive damages as well as Mr. Skelly from paying the charges. legal fees. associated with the trial.