Wednesday, February 6, 2019



Feathers fly over decision at Poughkeepsie Common Council session

POUGHKEEPSIE – A refusal by Poughkeepsie Common Council Chairwoman Ann Finney to allow a resolution to be placed on the agenda caused tempers to flare Monday night.

Councilman Christopher Petsas, under the "unfinished business" portion of the meeting, attempted to bring up the Poughkeepsie Innovation District resolution for a vote. 

The council has been dealing with the proposed zoning changes for several months.  "I'm going to ask the chair if we can vote on this, this evening or whether, as you indicated in your conversation with me, you are going to block it this evening," Petsas said to Finney.  The council chair responded with "We're not voting on it tonight," which drew the ire of Petsas and Matthew McNamara. Both have been critical of Finney's tight control over the agenda. 

Of Finney's leadership over the last 13 months, Petsas said "my concern is that the council has become more of a dictatorship rather than a democracy."

Finney insists that she still has questions regarding the zoning changes and she needs more time.  Councilwoman Natasha Cherry, growing impatient with the delays said "how long is this going to go on?" telling Finney that "at some point in time we need to make a decision." 

Cherry encouraged Finney to meet with representatives from the planning department to get the answers she needs before the next meeting which is scheduled for February 19th. 

Councilwoman Sarah Brannen indicated that her questions had been answered by the planning department and she also encouraged Finney to meet with them.

McNamara asked the city's attorney about the procedure for bringing items to a vote that Finney won't put on the agenda and counsel said "the charter gives the authority to the chair to set the agenda," but he also indicated that three members of the board can force a special meeting to be held to which Finney said "my reading of the charter is that the chair controls the agenda of all meetings!"

Petsas was unclear whether he would, along with two other members of the board, call a special meeting for the Innovation District resolution or wait until the next regular one. 

After the meeting, Finney said to "Mr. Petsas, I understand, is bringing it (PID) to a special meeting so he will be moving forward as he indicated."  When asked if a meeting would be held before February 19th, Finney said "I don't know what his plans are."


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