Did the Syracuse City Mayor just violate both City and State Law? That’s the question that. If you ask 13-year Syracuse City resident Joe Levi, it’s an undeniable “yes”.
At last night’s Syracuse City Council Meeting, Mr. Levi spoke about an apparent shift of Mayoral powers in a proposed set of rules — which the Council later tabled.
When asked what motivated him to bring this to light in the public forum of a City Council Meeting, Mr. Levi explained:
“Given the context of what we’ve seen in Libya and other countries recently, I saw something happening in our own city — something that I hoped was all in my mind. I saw a City Council that was operating without any rules and being controlled by a single person. When I voiced my concerns, that single person assured me nothing was wrong, nothing was unlawful. But when I dug deeper, I found even more troubling information.”
The proposed rules, Mr. Levi argues, redefine the role of the Mayor, and grants the person in that position other powers that are allegedly prohibited by Utah Law. He continued that the Mayor would be given the titles of “chief legislative officer” and “chief judicial officer”, which he claims crosses the line between the separate roles of government.
He also claims that current Syracuse City Code already empowers the Mayor to call upon the adult residents of the City to enforce the laws of the City and the State — essentially making the Mayor the “chief law enforcement officer of the city” as well — and giving whoever holds that office all three roles of government: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.
“It’s alarming that no one else is connecting these dots. If one person holds all three roles of government, we don’t need a City Council? A police department? Or even a Judge? When one person has all that power — to make, enforce, and judge the laws — you’re collecting too much power in one person and eliminating checks and balances. It’s closer to a dictatorship than the representative government we have now. Equally as disturbing is that our current Mayor isn’t fighting it — she’s been conspicuously silent about the change in her powers.”
“Dictatorship”? That’s an awfully strong word. What triggered the use of such a bold claim? Mr. Levi says he gets the impression that the Mayor thinks she’s above the law. At last night’s meeting he says he put his suspicions — and the Mayor — to the test.
“I set up a scenario where I informed her that a specific section of the proposed rules — removing someone from a public meeting — was illegal. Later on, when I didn’t sit down after my time expired, she ordered the chief of police to remove me. Based on my reading of Utah Law 10-3-608, her order was unlawful! What’s more, her order was in violation of Syracuse City Law 02.02.150! Our very own city law!”
Mr. Levi continued that the chief did not forcibly remove him, and he was allowed to remain in the meeting, but he feels it was only because Councilman Ocana’s motion to have him removed failed (it didn’t receive a “second”), and he relinquished the microphone — but only after he says the Mayor confirmed his suspicions.
He has recounted a detailed account of events on his website: http://www.joelevi.com/blog/index.php/2011/10/my-recent-actions-were-a-test-for-mayor-jamie-nagle-her-actions-were-alarming/