Mar 23, 2011 Ken Jackson Uncategorized
It was a crisp bright sunny Sunday in Syracuse on March 20 and as thousands left their morning services, clipped to the windshield of hundreds of vehicles was the call for action by Syracuse Citizens for Justice.
Syracuse Citizens for Justice was formed after the firing of Citizen Review Board Director Felicia Davis. Davis, according to multiple reports, was fired because she failed to attend a trial, for which a subpoena had been served.
Current and former members of the CRB have raised questions: Did the Mayor have the authority to fire Ms. Davis? Did the Mayor have the authority to deny access to the office by CRB board members?
According to many in the African-American community Ms. Davis was doing a great job given the obstacles she faced over the years with changing mayors and a revolving door of board members.
Community Activist and former CRB member Gladys Smith said, “When I was there we were having hearings, work was being done” Smith went on to say that she “had no problem” with how Ms. Davis handled her job.
Sponsor of the original Citizen Review Board legislation, former 4th District Common Councilor Charles Anderson is upset that no one in leadership in the African-American community has taken this on as an issue.
“I have been appalled by the depiction of the CRB director, attorney Felicia Davis, and the board of directors… to depict the CRB Board of Directors, who are appointed by the councilors and the mayor, as ‘moribund,’ perpetuates a negative view of the board. Such depiction shifts any blame from the mayor, who sat on the council for eight years, and now usurps the power of the legislative branch of which she was a member.”
Syracuse Citizens for Justice, the group formed to fight the Mayor’s action, has released a six-point statement of charges. Among them: “the Mayor took $38,228 from the CRB’s budget,” and “Ms. Davis was never physically served with the subpoena.”
The group also alleges, “Juanita Perez-Williams, corporation counsel, was aware of when Ms. Davis would be on maternity leave and was present at a hearing on Jan. 24 when city lawyer Jim McGinty admitted that they failed to notify Ms. Davis.”
The Citizen Review Board on Feb. 7, in a dramatic press conference, stated that they, “found the Administrator’s work to be exemplary.”
In the message delivered primarily to African-American congregations was Syracuse Citizens for Justice’s call for action and that “she (Ms. Davis) shall be reinstated to her job with paid administrative leave while they investigate the Mayor’s allegations.”
The group is asking people to call their Common Councilor and “tell them to give Ms. Davis her due process that the Mayor and her Corporation Counsel failed to do.”
Ken is the editor of Urban CNY and a weekly columnist for The Eagle. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.