Schenectady GOP chair files ethics complaint against Farley over 911 call

A man with a microphone

Schenectady City Councilman Damonni Farley speaks at a City Council meeting on Feb. 13.

Article Audio:

SCHENECTADY — Schenectady Republican Party Chair Tom Kennedy has filed a city ethics complaint against City Councilman Damonni Farley for alleged abuse of power and misconduct over a pair of phone calls made by Farley to a county dispatcher and a city police officer.

The complaint, which was filed with the city on Friday, alleges that at approximately 6 p.m. on Sept. 1 Farley placed a call to a Schenectady County Unified Communications Center dispatcher and intimidated the dispatcher when inquiring about a car without license plates that had been towed from a city street.

According to the complaint, Farley “was extremely agitated” when speaking to the dispatcher and demanded the return of the vehicle while repeatedly identifying himself as a city councilmember.

The complaint alleges that Farley subsequently placed a call that night to the Schenectady Police Department and demanded the return of the vehicle.

The Daily Gazette has submitted Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to the county and city to gain access to recordings or transcripts of the Sept. 1 calls, with the county acknowledging receipt of the request.

The city denied the FOIL request on Monday to obtain Farley’s Sept. 1 call to the police department.

In a letter from Schenectady Records Access Officer Maryanne McCutcheon, the city notes that the request was denied due to “evidentiary records withheld as criminal action still part of an ongoing investigation.”

A separate FOIL request from Kennedy to gain access to the police department call was also denied by the city on Monday, with Kennedy noting that he is weighing an appeal of the denial.

“If I find there is a criminal investigation into this incident I will not interfere with the authorities,” Kennedy said. “However, I will continue to press my ethics complaint against Farley.”

Prior to the filing of Kennedy’s complaint, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy said that action is being taken regarding the events of Sept. 1.

“We’re doing the appropriate administrative action with that incident,” he said.

McCarthy declined on Monday to detail the measures being taken and said he has not been in contact with Farley regarding the incident.

Farley was previously cleared by the Schenectady Board of Ethics for a conflict of interest complaint brought forth by City Councilman John Polimeni pertaining to Farley’s unpaid state income taxes and contracts with the Schenectady City School District.

Farley was unanimously cleared of all city ethics violations by the four-person board on Aug. 8, with Kennedy filing a new complaint against Farley five weeks later.

Farley declined to discuss the specifics of the alleged Sept. 1 incident.

“It’s disheartening to witness the continuation of such bullying tactics,” he said. “Challenging the status quo often comes with its challenges. Nevertheless, my focus remains steadfast on fostering meaningful, constructive dialogue about the issues paramount to our community.”

Kennedy addressed the alleged incident during the public comment portion of the city council’s Sept. 11 meeting, imploring Farley to apologize to the dispatcher. Farley did not respond to Kennedy’s remarks during the meeting.

City Council President Marion Porterfield questioned the relevance of Kennedy’s complaint on Monday, noting that the board is tasked with rendering ethics advisory opinions in response to written complaints from city officers and employees.

In an Aug. 8 ruling for an ethics complaint lodged by Scotia resident Edmund Laven against the mayor and board regarding city judges, the ethics board ruled that the complaint was not within the panel’s jurisdiction of providing opinions to city officers and employees. The ethics board heard Laven’s complaint in person during its June 27 meeting before the matter was subsequently dismissed.

Kennedy’s ethics complaint asks the ethics board to weigh the timing of Farley’s calls, which were made on a Friday evening when dispatchers could potentially be handling urgent matters.

“Damonni Farley, whether it’s the school issues that he dealt with, he feels that he’s above the law,” Kennedy said. “What really struck me is that these people, the dispatcher and the police officer, a Friday night is probably the busiest night in the City of Schenectady and you’re dealing with this guy wanting a car with no plates that was on the road towed and he wanted it returned. Talk about wasted resources.”

Kennedy noted in his complaint that he is available and ready to cooperate with the board of ethics in a potential investigation.

“I’m hoping that the ethics board can at least hear the tape,” he said on Monday.

Categories: -News-, Schenectady County


If Mr. Kennedy’s FOIL request was denied, how does he know the details of the call? Who cares if Mr. Farley was upset that his car was towed, should that really be the focus of an ethics investigation? Talk about wasted resources! It’s no surprise that the GOP in Schenectady (and Mr. Polimeni) are obsessed with Mr. Farley and trying to find anything that will discredit him. Even as he was just cleared of ethics violations regarding his school employment, they try to dig up some more dirt on him. Keep on Mr. Farley, you’re clearly doing something right or they wouldn’t be trying so hard to bring you down.

Bill Marincic

You don’t think that a councilman calling and demanding and harassing the 911 operators was not talked about? Obviously, someone told him or they told someone else who told Tom. What difference does it make? Do you want your councilman should be harassing 911 operators and police officers who are only doing their jobs? What did he think the 911 operator could do, go get the car out of impound?

Leave a Reply