Poughkeepsie council members to lose pay over training requirements

POUGHKEEPSIE – A majority of the Poughkeepsie Common Council members are receiving a salary reduction for failure to meet minimum training requirements that are set forth in the city charter.

The council members, as well as the mayor, are supposed to complete eight hours of annual training by June 30 of each year and submit their certificates to the commissioner of finance for approval.

On July 11, Finance Commissioner Bill Brady notified Council Chairwoman Ann Finney that a 10 percent reduction of her salary, amounting to $225 per pay period, would take effect on July 26.

Finney will be forfeiting $1,350 of her annual salary as a result of failing to participate.    Brady also notified council members Randall Johnson, Sarah Brannen, Lorraine Johnson, and Chris Petsas that their respective salaries would be reduced by $150 per pay period effective July 26.

Those 10 percent reductions amount to $900 annually per member.

Brannen, Friday, disputed the claim that she had not met the training requirement.

Records for Councilmember Natasha Cherry were not included.  When contacted Thursday afternoon, Cherry said she did not know if an email had been received from Commissioner Brady. Finney did not return telephone calls or emails eliciting a response.

Council Members Sarah Salem and Yvonne Flowers did participate in training.  Records submitted to Brady show that Flowers completed 457 minutes of the minimum 480 minutes.  As a result, Brady is docking Flowers a pro rata deduction of $7.18 per pay period.  Salem’s submitted records show 431 minutes out of 480 and Brady’s pro rata deduction will dock Salem $15.28 per pay period.  The deductions for Flowers and Salem will also take effect on July 26.

Salem, meanwhile, today said the councilperson has satisfied the requirements, noting a total of 10.18 hours of training were conducted and certified.

Mayor Rob Rolison and Councilman Matthew McNamara both met the training requirements and will continue to receive their full salaries.  When asked if meeting the minimum requirements was difficult, McNamara said “Not at all.  Some training was offered through workshops in council chambers and others online.  We had several options.”

The city subscribes to municipal training services offered online through Lorman and pays $2,600 annually for the service.  Lorman allows council members to access online training that can be credited towards the eight-hour minimum.

McNamara completed six different online training classes through Lorman, including “Best Practices in Budget Development” and “Ethical Considerations in the Public Sector”.  McNamara said “Ongoing training is essential for public servants.”


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