Oswego Defines ‘Good Moral Character’ For Cab Drivers

OSWEGO, NY – At Monday night’s meeting of the Planning and Development Committee, Councilor John B. Gosek rolled out some new wording regarding his proposed changes to the city’s Taxicab Ordinance (Chapter 228).

After receiving a favorable recommendation from the committee, the plan will now go to the full council for consideration.

There are rouge cabs out there coming into town taking away fares from Oswego city licensed cabs, Councilor Gosek said. “My biggest fear is public safety,” he added.

Last month he had attempted to amend the city’s taxicab ordinance. However, the proposal stalled at the committee level due in part to a section that read applicants “shall be of good moral character.”

City Attorney Kevin Caraccioli said it was “dangerous ground.” The definition of  “moral character” was ambiguous, he explained.

Monday night, Goesk presented an updated version of that section of the proposed amendment.

The tentative new section now reads:

J. Be of good moral character.

1. “Good moral character” shall be the absence of the involvement in the following:

A. being convicted of murder

B. being convicted of any aggravated felony or crime which includes:

1 – murder, rape or sexual abuse of a minor
2 – illicit trafficking in controlled substances
3 – firearms, destructive devices and explosive materials offenses
4 – money laundering
5 – crimes of violence for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year
6 – theft and burglary offenses for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year
7 – crimes involving the demand or receipt of ransom
8 – crimes involving child pornography
9 – crimes involving a violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
10 – a second or subsequent gambling offense for which a one-year or greater term of imprisonment may be imposed
11 – prostitution “managing” and transporting offenses
12 – offenses involving fraud or deceit
13 – being involved in prostitution

C. being a habitual ‘drunkard.’

2. In the event the applicant has been involved in any of the criminal activities set forth in Subsection “J” above, or other criminal activities affecting good moral character, a finding of lack of good moral character shall be based upon the guidelines  set forth in the New York State Correction Law, Article 23-A, sections 752 and 753.

Gosek said working with Caraccioli and assistant city attorney Tom Reynolds, they were able to come up with better wording.

It’s based on federal immigration guidelines, he explained.

“We’re drawing from federal law. If it’s good enough for Immigration services, it’s good enough for the city of Oswego,” Caraccioli said. “The law presumes that all applicants are all of good moral character; unless they fall under these certain categories. And, they’re pretty serious offenses.”

The city attorney said the wording gives the legal department some comfort in knowing “that there’s a definition …whether anybody takes us on over this definition remains to be seen, but I feel comfortable being able to defend this definition.”


  1. Please define “being a habitual ‘drunkard'”. Appears ambiguous. Should it be more specifically related to having no DWI or DUI, nor alcohol or drug convictions involving motor vehicle operation? And does this include Uber drivers? And all future related transportation assistance we haven’t dreamed of yet that may involve interaction with and safety of the public? Thank you.

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