ONEIDA — Due to an ongoing investigation, answers are few surrounding the Oneida Chamberlain’s office and just what happened over the course of 13 years. In early 2021, Nancy Andrews left her position as Oneida city chamberlain on medical leave. Following that, an investigation was opened by the New York State Comptroller’s Office and records were examined as far back as 2007, according to city officials.
Oneida City Democratic Committee Chair and Oneida Supervisor Wards 1, 2, 3 candidate John Nichols spoke during the public comment period at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, asking the Common Council and mayor for answers. “While I know the Council can’t give out much information about the ongoing investigation, especially on a personnel matter, there still should be some answers available to the public,” Nichols said.
Among questions Nichols posed to Council included whether or not city residents were impacted by problems with tax payments, when the results of the forensic audit or any audit will be made public, and if any steps have been made to ensure there won’t be any ongoing problems going further.
After the meeting, Mayor Helen Acker said she didn’t feel comfortable sharing any information until she spoke with the appropriate people at New York State who are conducting the investigation so she knows what she can and can’t say. “I don’t want to harm the investigation,” she said.
Acker did comment on another matter Nichols brought up at the Common Council meeting.
“It was not appropriate or even ethical to appoint a current candidate for city Chamberlain, while we don’t have a chamberlain, during an election year for that office,” Nichols said. “Let alone a position in the Chamberlain’s office, even if only temporarily, and then reappointed.”
Anna Hood is currently a candidate for Oneida Chamberlain and works as an account clerk in the chamberlain’s office.
Acker said Hood is not serving the role of city chamberlain and that Tracy Anderson is currently the acting city chamberlain. According to her LinkedIn profile, Anderson has worked for the city of Oneida since 1993.
Acker added that she hopes to get more information on the investigation to the public soon but will need to confer with the investigators first.