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Geneva Police Budget Advisory board member disputes ethics charges

A member of the city of Geneva Police Budget Advisory Board is taking exception with a city Board of Ethics ruling that his social media posts about the department violated the city’s ethics code.

The Finger Lakes Times reports the ethics board made a decision, announced by Mayor Steve Valentino at this week’s City Council meeting, that James McCorkle’s post in October related to the conviction of former Geneva police officer Jack Montesanto, was in violation of the code.

McCorkle is said to have posted McCorkle posted that “the whole orchard (i.e., the entire GPD) is poisoned,” and that the “implication is that any tax money spent on the GPD is money spent on bad cops.” Montesanto was found guilty of choking a woman in custody. The post made it to “Geneva Believer” blogger Jim Meany’s Facebook page. A citizen complaint against McCorkle accused him of violating three parts of the ethics code. After investigating, the board found the post did not violate any of those three parts, but did violate two others not cited in the complaint.

In a statement, McCorkle said “while I agree with the purpose of an ethics board, not unsurprisingly I disagree with their finding that I was in violation of any of the city’s ethical tenets,” he said. “Their finding, I would argue, was a form of zealous overreach reflecting a dislike of my opinion or its tone. Had I expressed a diametrically opposed position to the one I expressed, I doubt there would have been a complaint, even though the rationale for determining my so-called violation could have easily been applied.”

The ethics board ruled City Councilor Laura Salamendra did not violate the city’s ethics code by sharing McCorkle’s post.