Poughkeepsie council member accused of violating city ordinance

POUGHKEEPSIE – City of Poughkeepsie Council Member Sarah Salem, running in a primary for the council’s “at-large” seat, is being accused of wrongfully putting her campaign signs on city property, which is against the law, according to the city’s charter.  Salem’s signs have been seen throughout the city affixed to city light posts and trees and one has been taped to the bulletin board at Mural Square Park on Main Street.

Mike Young, a former member of the common council is challenging Salem in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for the “at-large” seat.  Of the signs Salem has placed on city property, Young said, “When I was in office, I helped pass an ordinance to put a stop to ‘sign litter’ like this. I’m disappointed to think our public works employees will have to spend time and taxpayer money away from their important daily tasks to clean up duct-taped litter. I call on my opponent and their supporters to clean the defaced city property and let us return to a campaign based on the issues affecting Poughkeepsie.”

Salem failed to respond to a request for a comment on the illegal signs.  

According to the city’s charter, “The posting, tacking, taping or placing of any sign, handbill, stickers, posters or any printed material on any part of the stand of any traffic control device, any light pole and signpost, including traffic signs or street signs, or traffic control boxes, utility poles, utility boxes and stanchions, guardrails, bridges, railroad crossings, overpasses, trash containers or the like, on any public property throughout the City of Poughkeepsie, is hereby prohibited.”

Paul Ackerman, the city’s attorney, noted that the charter allows for fines to be levied against offenders, even if they did not personally place the signs on restricted spaces. The charter indicates that the fine is not less than $100 but not more than $1,000 for each violation.  The city’s Sanitation Enforcement Division is responsible for enforcing the law.

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