Council misses date to impose deadlines on mayor

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POUGHKEEPSIE – The city’s common council was seeking to hold a public hearing to change the City Charter and give them more oversight over the mayor is on hold.  The hearing was tentatively scheduled for July 11 but the council could not provide the required notice to the public in time.

The council hoped to hold a public hearing this month to give them confirmation powers over the mayor’s appointments to the Planning Board, Zoning Board, and the Historic District and Landmark Preservation Commission.  If, after the hearing, scheduled when many residents are unavailable, the resolution passed, the council would then put a referendum on the November ballot asking all city voters if they want to change the charter.

City Administrator Marc Nelson advised the council earlier this week that the public notice might not be published in the time allowed by law.  “Generally speaking, July and August are not ideal months in which to schedule a public hearing for obvious reasons. If the goal is to really hear from a cross-section of the community, then perhaps a little more notice would be advisable.

According to the resolution put forth by Second Ward Councilman Evan Menist, the council would make the final decision on the mayor’s appointments to the three boards.  The proposed law also says the mayor must fill any vacancies on the three boards within six months or the council can appoint its own nominee by a two-thirds majority vote.

Ironically, the same common council seeking to force the mayor to act within a specific time broke the law by failing to establish a redistricting committee within the timeframe established in the charter.  The law requires that the committee be established by the first day of March of 2021.  The commission was not appointed until the spring of 2022.

By failing to name the commission, the council further violated the law requiring the commission to submit a proposed plan of redistricting to the common council for its consideration of adoption by local law.  The plan should have been submitted to the council by November 1, 2021.  Just days after Mid-Hudson News reported the council’s failure to abide by the law, Chairperson Sarah Salem issued a notice seeking members to serve on the commission.