Utica Councilman on UFD Allegations: If It’s True He Should Step Down
A member of the Utica Common Council says if allegations of misconduct against the city's current fire chief are true, he ought to step down from his post.
Councilman Bill Phillips joined Keeler in the Morning on Thursday amid allegations that a city Deputy Fire Chief, who is currently acting as Temporary Fire Chief, was involved porn watching and masturbation with a civilian inside one of the city fire houses. The civilian is the son of a current member of the UFD, and was also actively seeking to join the Utica Fire Department.
''If things are true - as I'm hearing them and as you are reporting them - he should on-his-own step down. We all do things - and I shouldn't say we - I do things that I don't want people necessarily to know,'' Phillips said.
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The veteran councilman gave an example of a private conversation that he may have with someone that later becomes public.
''If what I say comes out, and it's true, I have to own up to that...and concede that's what happened, and step down.
Phillips said he had not had spoken with John Kelly, the longtime UFD member at the center of the controversy.
''He knows if it's true or not. If it's isn't true, he's got to make his case in public - he cannot do this behind closed doors,'' Phillips added.
When asked if he thought there was inconsistency in the way Mayor Robert Palmieri has handled issues within the fire department, Phillips said each case is different.
''I think each case is different, so, naturally you handle them differently.
''I have said this to the mayor, I will continue to say this to the mayor: He needs a public safety commissioner. Even though that person is going to represent basically what [the mayor] thinks, that would put an objective person out there to be the face of this.
''I don't necessarily say it would solve the problem, but it would take [pressure/criticism] of [the mayor],'' Phillips said.
All media inquiries about a Utica Police investigation into the matter, and all related questions about the incidents are being directed to the Mayor Robert Palmieri.