Poughkeepsie council delays “Safe City” vote again


POUGHKEEPSIE – Enforcement
concerns raised by Police Chief Thomas Pape were enough for a bare majority
of common council members present Monday night to table a vote on declaring
Poughkeepsie in effect, a “Safe City” for immigrants.

The issue has come before the council a few times. Monday night’s
resolution, co-authored by Second Ward Democrat Michael Young and Council
Chairwoman Natasha Cherry, of the Sixth Ward, has been finetuned over the
past few weeks. Now, Chief Pape, says he need clarity on his responsibilities,
as head of the agency charged with enforcement of the many provisions.

“I’m not against a resolution for a safe and secure city but
I would be remiss if I didn’t do my due diligence and make recommendations
to you folks without all the knowledge that I can gather on it as it pertains
to the organization that you’ve tasked me with running downstairs,”
the chief told the council.

Pape noted an upcoming webinar on June 13th, hosted by the risk management
company that advises the city on federal, state and city law, and best practices
around the country. He wants to participate in that, and suggested perhaps
council members might consider it, also.

Young said, with some reluctance, he thought the webinar would be of some
value, and that it occurs six days before the next council meeting on the

“That would give us several days to make changes if we needed to make
changes,” Young said.

Other council members, including resolution cosponsor Cherry, were ready
to vote.

So was First Ward Councilman Christopher Petsas, who noted Beacon and Kingston
have adopted safe city resolutions already.

“Stand with our sister cities up and down the Hudson Valley,”
Petsas said. “The city should take action tonight. I don’t think
a webinar should stand in the way of declaring ourselves a safe city and
a city that welcomes diversity.”

Republican Lee Klein motioned to table again.

With Democrat Randall Johnson II absent, the vote to table was 4-3, with
Klein, Lorraine Johnson, Ann Perry and Young voting to table.

Corporation Counsel Paul Ackerman advised that since the motion to table
pertained to a council rule and not on a resolution or local law, an absolute
majority of five was not needed. The safe city designation waits at least
another two weeks.