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 fine-tuned over the past few weeks.  Now, Chief Pape says he needs 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 a 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 19th.
“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 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.   

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