POUGHKEEPSIE – The Democrats on the Poughkeepsie Common Council are unable to come to a consensus regarding the appointment of a new chairperson for the council. The seat became vacant when Councilmember-At-Large when Sarah Salem resigned just hours after being convicted by a jury of misdemeanor DWI on September 20th.
The council has to name a replacement for Salem by October 20th, which is 30 days from the date of Salem’s resignation.
Sixth Ward Councilwoman Natasha Cherry previously served as council chair and, until Salem resigned, has been the vice-chair this year. After Salem bailed out, Cherry assumed the role of chairperson until a replacement is chosen.
The Democrats on the council met on Monday night and Cherry offered to serve as chairwoman for the remainder of the year. “The people of this city are the top priority,” she said. Another member of the caucus supported naming Cherry and said, “Natasha has experience in guiding the council through the budget process which is coming up very soon.” Other Democrats disagreed with the idea and no permanent replacement was named.
Cherry offered to work with the entire council to build consensus in selecting a new chairperson and as acting chair put out a call on Tuesday for residents interested in replacing Salem. The appointed individual will serve as the at-large councilperson and chair of the council for the remainder of the term which expires at the end of 2023.
Cherry stressed the need to have leadership in place before the start of the budget review. “The people of the City of Poughkeepsie come first and they deserve to have this position filled by a qualified leader before we work on the budget.” The acting leader also said, “I will work to insure that the process is as transparent as possible and will provide an update to the public at our next council meeting on October 3rd.”