POUGHKEEPSIE – City officials have confirmed to Mid Hudson News that city attorney Paul Ackermann will be leaving his position of Corporation Counsel next month, after nearly 14 years of service. Mr. Ackermann joined the City as an Assistant Corporation Counsel in February of 2008 before being appointed to head the city’s Law Department in January of 2012.
During more than 11 years as Corporation Counsel, Ackermann represented the city in every aspect of municipal government, both civil and criminal, and in both state and federal courts. From the routine daily matters that touched every department at City Hall, through complex litigation to appellate practice, Ackermann has served two mayors, and seven Common Councils, working with 29 different elected Councilmembers.
The attorney’s duties at City Hall also include contract negotiations with six collective bargaining units including the police department PBA and the firefighters of IAFF Local 596. The firefighters are currently working without a contract and are involved in labor arbitration with the city. Local 596 members are concerned that Ackermann’s departure will further delay the current arbitration and subsequent contract negotiations.
Ackerman and the Corporation Counsel’s office also defends the City in labor grievances, handle all employee disciplinary matters, and Ackermann is the chairperson of the city’s sexual harassment committee that investigates relative complaints.
Ackermann is also employed by longtime Poughkeepsie law firm Wallace and Wallace. According to the firm’s website, he “routinely handles all phases of commercial and residential real estate matters for the firm.” Managing partner Craig Wallace noted that Ackermann handles all prosecutions on behalf of the Town of Poughkeepsie in their justice court. Ackermann, through Wallace and Wallace, is also the Town Attorney for the Town of Pleasant Valley. The firm was recently chastised by Democratic members of the town board for a campaign contribution to the town’s Republican Committee.
Mayor Rob Rolison said, “The City has been very fortunate that Paul decided to dedicate so much of his career to public service. In 14 years representing the city, Paul’s work led to successful outcomes in some of the most momentous matters the city faced during that time.” Rolison praised the attorney, saying “In my view, the best attorney is one that keeps the client out of court in the first place. Paul’s work outside the courtroom, with key city stakeholders, other levels of government, as well as with city departments, has directly contributed to the progress the city has seen since he became our Corporation Counsel.”
Mr. Ackermann told Mid Hudson News his thoughts about his tenure at city hall, saying “It has been an honor serving the city and its residents for the last 13 years. As a kid growing up in this city I learned so much and was happy to be given the opportunity to give back to the community that helped raise me. This city is truly a remarkable place.“
A successor to Mr. Ackermann will be announced by Mayor Rolison in the coming days, and the appointment will be subject to Common Council approval.