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Sanita: Utica Public Safety Commissioner position a legal requirement

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - One of Utica's five mayoral candidates says that if any of his opponents plan on getting rid of the city's public safety commissioner, they'd be breaking the law.

Rainbow Party candidate Ernie Sanita points to a section of the city charter and second class cities law. One says that the mayor "shall" appoint a public safety commissioner. The other says a mayor "shall not" hold another office and if they do, they vacate the first office.

"You must, ok, have a public safety commissioner. I said I wouldn't, they followed suit and if they had followed suit and acted as one, they would immediately have to step down as mayor as the city of Utica and it would go to the common council president," says Sanita.

However, city attorney Charlie Brown interprets the law differently. Brown says the issue has been raised numerous times in the past, and that, "shall" is directory language, not mandatory language. Brown says that a mayor can 'perform the duties' of a public safety commissioner without drawing the paycheck or holding the office.

Sanita says that he has a retired city employee lined up to be public safety commissioner for free, donating their salary back to the city.

Sanita is in an historic, five-way race against Republican Michael Cerminaro, Democrat Robert Palmieri, Independence and Conservative Candidate Robert Cardillo and Green Party Candidate Robert Clemente.

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