POUGHKEEPSIE – Six of the nine Poughkeepsie Common Council members voted to hire a Long Island law firm to represent the council Monday night. The proposed agreement allows the council to spend up to $25,000 on the service for the remainder of the fiscal year.
The proposal was not without opposition. Eighth Ward Councilman Matt McNamara opposed the spending of funds. “Just because we have the money doesn’t mean we should spend it,” and he noted that the city is facing a $3.1 million deficit in the 2021 budget.
Lawmaker Yvonne Flowers, the board’s lone Independence Party member said, “I wasn’t involved in any of the discussions,” regarding the selection of Lamb and Barnosky to represent the common council. Salem indicated that an email invitation was sent to Flowers from the chairperson.
Mid-Hudson News has requested a copy of the email thread through the Freedom of Information Act, to verify Salem’s claim.
Salem, in justifying the spending said, “Sufficient funds exist in the council’s 2020 budget.” Salem also noted that the council has tried to hire their own lawyers in the past but have been “Blocked each and every time.”
McNamara was the lone no vote while Flowers abstained because she did not have any information on the proposal until the resolution packet arrived Thursday evening.
McNamara said last week of the resolution “Thankfully, our mayor has veto power, and I urge him to use it, just as he has in the past when it comes to unnecessary spending requests from Chair Salem.”
The bill was amended on the suggestion of Councilwoman Natasha Cherry. She noted that the proposal was critical of the mayor and took away from the actual intent. The bill in part contained language that said, “The mayor has willfully impeded the functioning of the legislative branch of city government and thereby has threatened the fabric of our local democratic structures.” Cherry had that language removed from the final version of the legislation.