Public safety commissioner no-show at meeting discussing incident involving Schenectady mayor

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Schenectady City Council is trying to decide how to move forward after the mayor was accused of taking police matters into his own hands.

A 911 recording made by a woman named Sarah Dingley claimed Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy chased her from his neighborhood and followed her to the police department.

The city council held a special meeting Wednesday night to try and sort out the whole ordeal. Most of the meeting was held in executive session.

Gary McCarthy

NEWS10 ABC was e-mailed a press release that stated the meeting was for the council to be advised by Schenectady Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett on how to move forward – except he didn’t attend the meeting.

Councilman Vince Riggi wasn’t aware Bennett wouldn’t be at the meeting until after it had started. He was told the labor council advised Bennett not to attend.

“They advised him not to come and brief us,” Riggi said. “So that kind of bothers me. It bothers me in a big way.”

When NEWS10 reporter Ayla Ferrone called Bennett, he told her the same thing and said he didn’t have anything else to say.

Riggi said he doesn’t understand why.

“We’re in executive session, so what could he say that would be harmful to anyone?” Riggi wondered. “I have no idea.”

Council members said they still have unanswered questions for Bennett.

Audio of 911 call from the incident on May 19:


“We did have a number of questions that we wanted answers to which we got very clear and concise answers to,” City Council President Leesa Perazzo said. “But there are still a couple of questions for the commissioner that we would like answers to.”

The executive session meeting centered around a late night incident involving McCarthy.

“We discussed the incident and as it pertained to employees that are not elected officials,” Perazzo said.

Riggi stands by his statements that an outside investigation needs to take place.

“Police officers could be involved in the way the case was handled,” he said. “That’s why there’s no question an outside investigation needs to be done.”

Riggi said the city council agreed on an outside investigation during the meeting, but they can only advise Bennett on what to do moving forward. The ultimate decision is up to him.

“We can urge him; we can do a lot of things,” Riggi said. “We can’t order him to do it. You know who can order him to do it? Mayor McCarthy.”

The questions left for Bennett will be put on the schedule for another executive session during the June 6 meeting. Riggi said he hopes a resolution takes place before then and an outside investigation gets underway.

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