T he Syracuse Common Council is moving ahead with plans to revive the Citizen Review Board, but are they acting prematurely?
The Council has made appointments to fill vacant positions to the CRB at its meeting Monday afternoon. The five new members, selected by the Common Council, are be volunteers who will review complaints brought against the Syracuse Police Department. But, many question whether the Council's action is premature because of an on-going investigation into the CRB by the State Comptroller and a Task Force which has not yet come out with its recommendations.
The Comptroller is looking into the finances and operations of the Citizen Review Board after Mayor Stephanie Miner fired it's Administrator, Felicia Davis six months ago. Miner claimed Davis failed to fulfill the duties of the office when she allegedly failed to answer a subpoena in Federal Court last fall. At the time, the CRB came under fire for being ineffective. Davis has filed a notice of claim against the city over the firing, claiming she was on maternity leave at the time and was unaware of the subpoena.
In addition, Syracuse Councilor-at-Large Pamela Hunter has created a task force to recommend ways to improve the Citizen Review Board. The Task Force is looking at the Syracuse CRB and comparing it to other cities which have set up other ways of dealing with complaints against police officers.
C ouncilor-at-Large Pamela Hunter does not feel these appointments are premature. She points out that the task force which she has appointed is intended to revive the CRB. She says the appointments would be needed regardless.
Syracuse Chief of Staff Bill Ryan says the Miner Administration feels the Council's appointments are premature because both the state audit and the Task Force recommendations would not be completed for several months. "She (Mayor Miner) is not making our appointments (to the Citizen Review Board) until both processes are complete." Ryan told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon.
Should the Council move ahead with the appointments? Is the Citizen Review Board necessary? Leave your comments below.