In just a matter of days, a Geneva city councilor has come under scrutiny for airing some eye-raising comments at a “Back the Blue” rally in mid-July that had recently resurfaced – but now he is calling for forgiveness after issuing an apology on Facebook.
Back in late October of last year, only a few days away from the polls opening, then candidate Frank L. Gaglianese III challenged for a coveted spot on Geneva’s City Council.
At that time, Gaglianese claimed that the people from his community were “our greatest asset.”
“I believe our greatest asset: and that is the people of Geneva. Some will say different and say it’s the lakefront, but I believe it’s the people,” Gaglianese shared during the Geneva Candidate Snapshot Series.
Filled with excitement in his voice, he recognized the significance of asking questions and hearing from others, even those with dissenting views who see issues differently from himself.
“We basically ask questions and asking questions is a great thing because you get to find-out the things that are important to them as well as they ask questions to us,” Gaglianese said.
He promised that this special community could place trust in him to guide Geneva forward, all the while surpassing party affiliations and even his own personal inclinations.
“I want to be somebody that my constituents know that I have their back. This isn’t about me and what I want. It’s about what we all want,” he added.
With a new cast of councilors elected in November to serve, the fresh slate of representatives was set to rebuild community trust and restore credibility with the public following the Geneva Foundry cover-up, according to Gaglianese.
“I think we can rebuild the credibility; I think that may have been lost with the foundry situation and with some other things that have happened,” he admitted.
But now, that trust has been seemingly tarnished and tainted after the Geneva Believer identified Councilor At-Large Gaglianese essentially threatening participants from Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ teach-in session that occurred on Saturday, July 18th.
Gaglianese, who attended the “Education for Transformation: What We All Need to Know about Police Accountability” session had been accompanied by fellow city councilors, the city’s NAACP chapter, the People’s Peaceful Protests – who have advocated for the creation of the police accountability board in Geneva.
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One day removed from that virtual event dedicated to community building and unilaterally uniting Geneva, much like Gaglianese’s campaign promises from before, his own words broke his bonds and severed ties with some in the city.
A Facebook livestream captured the current city councilor at the “Black the Blue Ride and Rally” in Geneva on Sunday, July 19th, saying, “…the College did their whole thing? For police accountability? If I could have got a gun and shot the squares on my computer screen and killed everybody…disgusting.”
Shortly after the Geneva Believer released the story and accompanying video, BluePrint Executive Director Jackie Augustine addressed the issue by emailing the entire Geneva City Council late Friday evening.
Fourth Ward Ken Camera broke his silence on the subject that Saturday morning around 8:22 a.m. in the email chain writing, “Double OMG! Very sad.”
Camera then later challenged Gaglianese in a follow-up email around 5:30 p.m. asking, “Are you on vacation or are 8 hours not enough time to figure out a response to the documentation of your outburst at the BtheB event?”
A few hours later, Gaglianese sent an email to the chain around 8:30 p.m.
“My grandpa used to tell me that part of being a man is owning up when you’ve done or said something you shouldn’t have. I woke up this morning disappointed in myself, and I feel that I owe you all an apology. When watched the video clip posted online, quite frankly, I was embarrassed. There is no excuse for what I said. I accept all of the anger directed at me. To everyone who participated in the Hobart and William Smith Zoom session, fellow councilors, Genevans, my family, from the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry. Please know that no one could be more disappointed in me than I am in myself. I was elected to represent the people of Geneva, and my words that day didn’t do that. I promise you all that I will work harder to be a better man, and a better representative. A man I can be proud of, and a councilor that Geneva can be proud of. You all deserve that,” Gaglianese wrote in an email late Saturday evening to City Council.
These same words that appeared in an email to his fellow city councilors had been uttered from his mouth in a short apology video that he posted for the public to view on his own Facebook account.
But even after Gaglianese delivered his taped speech and several commenters online seemed content with how he had resolved the situation, organizers with the People’s Peaceful Protests are now claiming that his actions are still unacceptable, both from now and then.
““Hot-Mic Gaglianese” has shown time and time again that he is willing to say whatever is necessary to appease whoever he is currently talking to. He promised me personally on multiple occasions to show his support for the PPP’s resolutions and talked about how great they were for almost an hour on a single call. When the day came to vote, he neither sponsored or voted for any of them and voiced his stubborn opposition, even forgetting to mute his “Bullshit” remark during a citizen’s public comment,” Adam Fryer wrote in a statement to FingerLakes1.com on behalf of the PPP.
As for acknowledging his apology, it is simply not enough to the People’s Peaceful Protests, who are now calling for his resignation or forced removal.
“These last few months have laid everyone’s true selves bare for the world to see and he is clearly a liar, anti-accountability, and backing the police to an extremely ignorant and alarmingly dangerous degree. These are not traits befitting his office and not simply changed with an apology. He should resign or be removed,” Fryer ended.
Editor’s Note: Geneva City Councilor At-Large Frank Gaglianese had been contacted for a comment, but has not yet responded.
Read the full statement from the People’s Peaceful Protests below:
“First and foremost, our hearts go out to everyone who attended the public forum hosted by HWS, including the PPP’s own, Akim Hudson. The PPP stands in solidarity with the educators, community members and representatives who continue to educate themselves on the urgent local & global concern of police accountability. None of us deserved to hear those kinds of remarks, nor did the people in the councilor’s company when he said it. Joking about murder and flat out refusing to listen to facts about an issue that is literally killing people of color at an alarming rate, is truly disturbing.
What’s also disturbing is that since the inception of the PPP, organizers and community members have been subject to consistent harassment from active GPD officers on social media. This includes mocking, intimidation and threats, which are clearly violations of the GPD Social Media Policy. The police chief is aware or the issue and has done nothing, to our knowledge, to stop or address the harassment, which continues to this very day. This further highlights the need for a Police Accountability Board, which the Councilor At Large refuses to even entertain.
“Hot-Mic Gaglianese” has shown time and time again that he is willing to say whatever is necessary to appease whoever he is currently talking to. He promised me personally on multiple occasions to show his support for the PPP’s resolutions and talked about how great they were for almost an hour on a single call. When the day came to vote, he neither sponsored or voted for any of them and voiced his stubborn opposition, even forgetting to mute his “Bullshit” remark during a citizen’s public comment.
These last few months have laid everyone’s true selves bare for the world to see and he is clearly a liar, anti-accountability, and backing the police to an extremely ignorant and alarmingly dangerous degree. These are not traits befitting his office and not simply changed with an apology. He should resign or be removed.”