City Councilor charged with DWI, pot possession, missing court dates and board meetings

Stephanie Hayes / photo from Cortland City Police

The actions of one Cortland City Councilor could mean changes for all the rest.

Councilor Stephanie Hayes was arrested in April for drunk driving and possession of marijuana. The City Court clerk tells CNY Central Hayes has yet to appear in court, or pay any fines associated with the charges. She now owes more than $1,000.

Hayes has also missed 17 of the last 18 Common Council meetings, leaving her district, the 2nd Ward, effectively unrepresented. However, Hayes is still on the payroll and has received close to $2,500 from the city. Her last paycheck should come Friday.

Cortland's mayor-elect, Brian Tobin, says right now, the city has no rule requiring councilors to attend meetings. He says he intends to push for a stricter code of conduct when he takes office next month. "Hopefully in January we will be able to talk about expectations and lay out clear guidelines so not just people on the council but everybody that lives in the city knows this is what is expected of our elected officials and they can be confident that we are stepping forward to do the job we were elected to do."

Hayes did not seek reelection. She has reportedly left town. The clerk's office says she will most likely be given until the end of the month to pay her bills. After that, a warrant could be issued for her arrest.