Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Syracuse Councilors consider next move after mayor vetoes CRB legislation

Former CRB board member Peter McCarthy addressed the mayor and crowd at city hall May 1, 2024.
Scott Willis
Former CRB board member Peter McCarthy addressed the mayor and crowd at a hearing at city hall May 1, 2024.

Syracuse common councilors are considering their next move after the mayor vetoed legislation changing oversight of the Citizen Review Board.  There’s been pushback against the council’s effort to take more control of the CRB, which investigates complaints of police misconduct.

Councilors narrowly approved a measure in late April that aimed to address some of the CRB’s struggles, from meeting attendance to a backlog of cases. Councilor Chol Majok calls the mayor’s veto “disappointing,” and says the goal was to increase council oversight to ensure the board fulfills its duties.

“They have been staring at this for years and did nothing," Majok said. "And then the moment you step up and say, hey, we got to do something, the movement is like, pause, stop, stop. For what?  You tell us that you were so intimate with it. What do you got?”

Critics of the council's vote offered their alternatives to media including WAER News, but councilors didn’t allow public discussion. That sparked even more criticism from those who thought council oversight would compromise the board’s objectivity. Councilor Jimmy Monto was among those who voted no. He says changing the law likely won’t solve the CRB’s problems.

"The spirit and the intent of the CRB is for it to be a community driven body," Monto said. "So if the community feels it's not doing what it should be doing, then the community should be the ones to rebuild it revamp or, make the changes. I just don't think that that's my role.” 

In his veto message, Mayor Ben Walsh acknowledges the board’s struggles, and respect’s the council's duty to ensure the CRB functions effectively. But he says his veto is intended to give the council more time to seek public input about any proposed changes, including board members and outside experts. Walsh says the status quo cannot continue. Still, councilor Majok questions if more discussion is helpful. 

“When does that endless deliberation end? That's where, as leaders, we have to step in," Majok said. "What is there that we have not heard? Will we hear it again in the next few days? There's plenty of room to continue to listen. But there’s got to be a cap to that listening.”

Councilors need six votes to override the veto. That’s one more than supported the original ordinance.

The mayor's complete veto message is below:

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at