Councilor Denno Outvoted 7-1
By Sean Farrell
Originally reported on Feb. 27
Syracuse (NCC News)-The Syracuse Common Council voted Monday to sell up to $605,000 in bonds to pay a female city police officer who won a dis
crimination lawsuit against the Police Department. The proposal passed 7-1. Councilor-At-Large Lance Denno was the only member to oppose it.
Denno wants the payment to come from police funds, not taxpayers. “The question before us today is who pays,” Denno said. He said police need to follow the rules like everyone else and should be held to a higher standard, not a lower one.
In 2010, Officer Katherine Lee was awarded $400,000 from the city in a gender discrimination lawsuit. In 2000, a doctor diagnosed Lee with post-traumatic stress disorder. She was assaulted by her ex-boyfriend, also a police officer, court records said. However, the department did not let her carry a gun even two years after a doctor said she was mentally fit, court papers said.
Lee claimed she received unequal pay and her complaints of harassment were neglected. A Utica Court found members of the Syracuse Police Department repeatedly retaliated against employees who complained about discrimination. At least four other female officers have sued the department for gender discrimination in the past few years and three have won.
Denno opposed the proposal because he said police need to show accountability for actions. “These ‘accidents’ were not accidents,” he said. “They were behaviors.”
Councilor-At-Large Kathleen Joy explained her position by distinguishing the current administration from past misbehavior.
“These acts occurred many years ago…in prior administrations” Joy said. “We as a community are doing the right things to address past acts.”