SYRACUSE -- Before being sworn in, Syracuse Mayor-elect Terry Palmer has the city council votes needed to extend a job offer to city manager applicant Brody Bovero, at least according to social media posts and an inter-office email shared with city staff and elected leaders, says Syracuse Mayor Jamie Nagle.
But Palmer, who is to take his oath of office at noon on Jan. 6, refutes those claims, saying nobody has been hired for that position.
"What the mayor (Nagle) has put out there is false," Palmer said. "I haven't made any offers to anybody."
Palmer said he did indicate in a meeting with interim City Manager Steve Marshall that the city would be going another direction. "It was a hard decision," he said of having to choose between Marshall or Bovero. But Bovero, he said, was the direction he wanted to go.
Bovero also had the support of Councilmen Brian Duncan and Craig Johnson, as well as Councilwoman Karianne Lisonbee, Palmer said.
"Mayor Nagle is stretching it," said Palmer, who declined any further comment.
Marshall, the city's finance director, was appointed as acting city manager in July, replacing former City Manager Robert Rice, who left the city for another job under a cloud of political finger pointing.
Marshall had applied for the city manager job in an effort to remove the word "acting" from his title.
"An email announcing this (selection of Bovero) was sent to all city council members current and elect, the mayor, and all department heads (on Dec. 23)," Nagle said in a post on the Syracuse Truth Facebook page.
Nagle said she finds Palmer's handling of the situation to lack the transparency and civility he promised in his campaign.
It was in a recent conservation Palmer had with Marshall that the mayor-elect told of how he already had the three votes needed -- Duncan, Lisonbee and Johnson -- to name Bovero to the job, Nagle said.
Palmer disputes those names being shared at that time, but does confirm the appointment of a city manager has been placed on the Jan. 14 council agenda. "But nobody has been hired," he said.
"It's required to take a vote," Duncan said of any action. But the councilman refused to speculate as to how that vote might turn out.
"I know some things are in the works," Duncan admitted. But outside of that, he said, he didn't have a comment.
"I am unaware of any formal job offer being extended," Lisonbee said in an email to the Standard-Examiner.
But Lisonbee said she is aware Marshall sent out an email to the current council, city council, and Mayor Nagle, stating in it, "I spoke with Terry Palmer today at noon. He has made the decision to hire Brody Bovero as the new city manager."
State law prohibits the hiring of a city manager by an outgoing mayor, Lisonbee said. "I assume, based on the fact that our current interim city manager (Marshall) agreed to operate in that office until the end of January, that Mayor-elect Palmer wishes to act expeditiously to appoint a new city manager, accounting for the timing of resignation noticing and other factors involved in hiring," Lisonbee said.
Several attempts to reach Johnson were not successful.
But Nagle, in sharing the information over Facebook, did attract a number of comments from concerned residents.
Nagle said she finds it sad Palmer would make such an announcement prior to talking to every member of the city council.
"It is just disgusting to watch," she said of the process.
"I am saddened that as the incoming mayor-elect, who ran on a campaign to bring collaboration and civility back into the process, he has chosen the most important decision that the city can make, to make without the input of the entire council," Nagle said in a message on the Syracuse Truth Facebook page.
Nagle said she questions whether Palmer as mayor-elect has the authority to extend a city job offer to anyone prior to taking office.
"That's not proper," said Nagle, disappointed Councilman Doug Peterson and Councilman-elect Mike Gailey, were apparently not a part of the decision making process early on.
"I believe that Terry Palmer approached every sitting council member on this issue," Lisonbee said.
Marshall did a phenomenal job for Syracuse as its acting city manager, Nagle said.
Contact reporter Bryon Saxton at 801-625-4244 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter at @BryonSaxton.