Mayor Criticized for Role as Public Safety Commisioner

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UTICA, NY (WUTR)— Utica’s Mayor Robert Palmieri responds to criticism after Common Council candidates say he is unfit to be Public Safety Commissioner.

Common Council Candidates, Lou Poccia and Jim Zecca said the mayor, who also serves as Public Safety Commissioner, should stick to mayoral duties. They claim the mayor does not have proper training and instead, should appoint someone else to be the Public Safety Commissioner. 

Mayor Palmieri argues that he is qualified.

“I was Deputy Public Safety Commissioner under previous administrations,” explained Mayor Palmieri. “And during that time period, Jim Zecca when he was a council person, would call me almost every day for problems and concerns that he had. We would take care of it. So, I find it a little bit politically motivated at this point, which is unfortunately everything that Jim Zecca does.”

During Wednesday’s press conference, Zecca and Poccia discussed recent crimes that have happened in the city of Utica. Both said more needs to be done when it comes to public safety.

“We go through this around election time,” said Utica Police Chief Mark Williams.”Various candidates try to politicize recent crimes. I think that it is horrible that they try to take advantage of something like that.You’re talking about 2 people who have not contacted my office, made any inquiries of these instances that have happened, nor do they know the ins and outs of these cases.”

Zecca believes one way to reduce crime is to put the Utica Police Department’s 2nd armadillo out on the roads. However, Chief Williams said the vehicle is not properly outfitted.

“It’s a great tool, but it’s not a cure all for the daily crimes we deal with,” Williams stated.

Both Mayor Palmieri and Chief Mark Williams said they work well together to help keep Utica safe.

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