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Politics and Government

Syracuse Common Council: computer use policy and Citizen Review Board updates

Luke H. Gordon
Syracuse City Hall.

For nine months, a majority of the Syracuse Common Councilors have been denied computer access by Mayor Stephanie Miner’s administration for failing to sign a computer use policy. Now, the issue may finally be over. A majority of the councilors have signed the policy with an addendum added on. Council President Van Robinson said the mayor’s administration will not be able to discipline councilors if there is any violation of the policy, according to the addendum.  

“Any infraction by any of its staff would be reported to the Council for necessary action,” Robinson said.

Some councilors filed a lawsuit against Miner’s administration last year over the policy saying it gave her office access to their emails. A judge recently ruled in favor of the mayor’s administration. As of Monday's Common Council meeting, two councilors, Khalid Bey and Nader Maroun still had yet to sign the current policy with the addendum. Robinson said he planned to discuss with them as to when or if they will sign on. 

Citizen Review Board Lawsuit

Syracuse Common Councilor Steven Thompson is dropping a proposed amendment to not allow the Citizen Review Board from filing lawsuits. The Citizen Review Board investigates complaints against police officers in the city and is currently suing police Chief Frank Fowler for not responding to four complaints. Thompson said he believed the Review Board did not have the authority to sue but in a separate motion filed by the city addressing that issue, a judge recently ruled otherwise.  

“I attempted to get the two parties together," Thompson said. "I was unsuccessful. I withdrew my legislation. It went to court and my understanding is the judge ruled in favor of the C.R.B.”  

That means the Review Board’s lawsuit against the police department can proceed. Police Chief Frank Fowler has said in the past that he did not respond to the complaints in question because he did not receive them within a specified 60-day window. The Review Board said the 60-day guideline is not enough time for them to properly review every complaint.