City IDA chair resigns; mayor suggests dissolution

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POUGHKEEPSIE – Council Chairperson Sarah Salem received the resignation of the City of Poughkeepsie’s Industrial Development Agency chairperson, Melanie Vetter, on Tuesday, September 7.  Mayor Rob Rolison is now questioning if a city IDA is needed at all.

The IDA used to have five members, all of whom were appointed by the common council.  When Salem and Vice-Chairwoman Sarah Brannen first took office, they increased the membership to seven and they were appointed to the board.  That created controversy in 2018 and the two eventually left the board.  Since 2018, the membership has dwindled to four members; Vetter, Norm Smith, Randall Johnson Sr., and Nate Shook.  With Vetter’s resignation, the IDA is operating with three members, which is the minimum, according to the IDA bylaws.

The resignation letter to Salem penned by Vetter says in part, “In the spring, I formally contacted you about my request, based on my professional needs, to reduce my role on the IDA  by adding additional members to the agency. Since then, my professional demands have continued to increase and at this time I am no longer able to make the time commitment to the IDA required by the Chairperson.”  Salem and the council have failed to add members to the board since Vetter requested new members.

Mayor Rolison served on the city’s IDA for two years and says Vetter’s resignation should encourage the council to review the necessity of having an IDA.  

“At one time it made sense.  They had a full membership and also had a support staff.  The membership is at a minimum and they haven’t had a support staff for years,” he noted.  “I really think that this is an opportunity, if we’re not going to strengthen the IDA, that has no support staff, I think it is time to look and see if we need our own IDA,” he said. “Dutchess County already has an IDA with a professional staff that works on projects throughout the county.”

Council Chair Sarah Salem did not respond to requests for comment on Vetter’s resignation.