Rochester City Councilmember Molly Dennis’s censure to end in New Year

Molly Dennis Censure Ends Soon

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(ABC 6 News) – It’s been a relatively hectic year for the Rochester City Council, but with 2023 on our heels, they’re looking to put tensions, investigations, and claims of discrimination behind them.

Rochester Councilmember Molly Dennis has been at the center of controversy with the city council this year. Things reached their boiling point during a meeting back on March 6 when the council formally censured Dennis, citing unproductive behavior with her colleagues and other city staff.

“The censure put some limitations based on time,” said Rochester Mayor Kim Norton. “Our staff, there’s a lot of time invested by staff, to address issues. There’s a lot of time invested by staff to address issues. So some of that was to hold it down to a manageable amount.”

From the beginning Dennis pushed back against it. She called the censure illegal and a disgrace to the city as well as her Ward 6 voters. She also claimed the censure was not based on time she had taken up from council members or city staff. Rather, it was based on a discrimination toward her ADHD.

“The censure, this illegal censure has been an incredible waste of taxpayer money and staff time,” Dennis said. “And I think we have a lot of catching up to do.”

In the months that followed two investigations were opened to look into Dennis’s claims.

An independent investigation hired by the City of Rochester found no evidence of discrimination. Another, which Dennis filed through the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, was closed in late October as the commission found evidence was inconclusive.

With the censure ending, Mayor Norton, Dennis and the council hope they can make amends and focus their priorities to the citizens of Rochester.

“We still do need to make sure that in an inordinate of staffs time is not taken and that things are handled in a way that follows the council’s procedures and rules that all council members follow and in fact, I do too,” said Norton.

“We need to move forward but it’s been very difficult when other people haven’t responded and the censure has done irreversible damage to not only to Rochester’s reputation but the city as well,” said Dennis.

The Rochester City Council’s first meeting in the new year will be on Jan 8, 2024. Dennis hopes the censures end will allow for better communication between herself, the council and city staff.