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Protest scheduled after Gloversville mayor's arrest

Protest scheduled after Gloversville mayor's arrest

Council members plan to reserve action until court makes decision on charge
Protest scheduled after Gloversville mayor's arrest
Gloversville Mayor Dayton King.
Photographer: PETER R. BARBER

GLOVERSVILLE — A local activist is organizing a protest to call on Mayor Dayton King to resign, following official misconduct accusations leveled last week.

Gloversville resident Youssouph Seydi set the protest for 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at Gloversville City Hall, ahead of the Common Council's scheduled 6 p.m. work session.

King was arrested Friday on the misdemeanor misconduct count. He is scheduled to return to court Dec. 20 to answer the charge.

Related: Foss: Too bad we can't do Gloversville mayoral race over

State police say King illegally used his position to access the personnel file of his opponent and city firefighter William Rowback Jr. ahead of an Oct. 28 mayoral debate on Gloversville radio station WENT. He then released that information on air, troopers said.

Seydi, who supported and campaigned for King's opponent, said he believes King should resign, and he is getting others to make that argument, as well.

"I think that the mayor shouldn't be able to access a public employee's file and use that against the employee in an election," Seydi said. "To me, that's an abuse of power."

Seydi is making the appeal through a Facebook page titled "Dayton Must Go."

It was unclear how many people plan to attend the protest. A Facebook event showed Monday that seven people planned to participate.

King did not immediately return a request for comment Monday. But in a message posted to Facebook on Friday after the charge was filed, he indicated he would stay on "and continue moving our city forward."

He also indicated then that he had consulted with his attorney and he believes the case will be resolved in his favor.

Rowback, who lost to King by 28 votes, called on King to resign, saying King won by breaking the law. Rowback also did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

Two council members contacted Monday indicated they are waiting to see how the criminal case plays out before considering any action.

Councilman Steven Smith said he has listened to the audio from the debate and he thinks it is "much ado about nothing."

"It sounded to me as if candidate Rowback was basically daring the mayor to go ahead and release that information," Smith said. "It seems to me that the mayor received tacit approval."

Councilwoman Marcia Weiss indicated she wanted to wait to see what happens in the court system. If there's something to talk about then, the council can do it at that time, she said.

King indicated at the debate that the entire personnel file, minus medical information, is open for public review.

State law, however, has special restrictions on personnel files of firefighters, as well as police and correction officers. That law, known as 50-a, protects "all personnel records used to evaluate performance toward continued employment or promotion" of those officers and firefighters. 

Those records "shall be considered confidential and not subject to inspection or review without the express written consent of such ... firefighter," except under court order, states the law.

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