Statement from Rochester for All Chairperson Rachel Barnhart:
City spokesman James Smith decided to shed a small amount of light on the deputy mayor’s activities. But there are still serious questions:
- Smith did not dispute the fact Alexander’s calendar appears to show he was gone 28 business days in 25 weeks.
- Smith did not address the items on Alexander’s calendar, which show he may have done outside work on city time.
- Smith said Axon didn’t pay Alexander to speak. Axon still gave Cedric Alexander a benefit. They hosted a cocktail hour and book promotion event. We don’t know if he received meals or travel. Smith also didn’t explain Alexander’s subsequent meeting with Axon, which suggests a relationship with Axon.
- Smith said CNN and University of Rochester are not paying Alexander. That doesn’t mean he’s not getting other benefits. In the case of U of R, we need to know more about the relationship.
- Smith did not address Alexander’s consulting work.
Smith’s response reinforces why we need full disclosure from our public officials. Our complaint is based on the city’s own public records, as well as publicly available information. This situation is not about me, and I’m not to blame for Alexander’s work habits.
Smith’s personal attack questioning my sanity and standing to file a complaint is disappointing. I won’t be silenced. I won’t be intimidated. I won’t back down.
I entered politics to fight for good government, a natural extension of my work as a journalist. The work Rochester for All is doing is filling a void. We don’t plan on stopping, as we are getting nonprofit status next year to support our efforts. We are a citizen watchdog group. We share our source material with news outlets and the public. We have no agenda, but the truth.
Smith’s response shows arrogance and belief City Hall is above scrutiny. It’s sad he is taking this approach, but it’s telling.