Debra Long resigns from SNUG alleging lack of diversity

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SNUG shooting response at Smith and Lent. (C) 2022 Mid-Hudson News.
Debra Long. Mid-Hudson News file photo copyright 2022.

POUGHKEEPSIE – Debra Long, the First Ward representative on the Poughkeepsie Common Council, has resigned from her job as program manager for SNUG, the state-funded program that attempts to prevent gun violence among youths between 13 and 21 years old.

SNUG in Poughkeepsie is run through Family Services Inc. at the Family Partnership Center on North Hamilton Street.

On Wednesday evening, Long, using the Family Services-SNUG Facebook page, posted her resignation, saying in part, “To my New York SNUG family and friends in Poughkeepsie, I just want to let all of you know today, I have officially resigned my position as the Program Manager for SNUG and Program Coordinator for TRAC.”

On Thursday morning at 7 a.m. Long, using the SNUG Facebook page, posted:

“Being a person of color at a predominantly white workplace creates its own special kinds of stress. I couldn’t have stayed it better .. having the lack of staff that represent the 98% of the people served.. is beyond puzzling…with an ALL WHITE LEADERSHIP… wake up people as this is also a reflection on the Board of Directors.”

The post made by Long on Thursday morning.

Family Services Inc. President and CEO Brian Doyle confirmed Long’s resignation is effective on October 20, 2022.  When advised of the post regarding diversity, he said, “That statement is inaccurate,” noting that both the employees and the board of directors, under the leadership of Freddy Garcia, represent people of all backgrounds.  “Board Chairman Freddy Garcia and the entire board have made a concerted effort to be inclusive of people of all backgrounds,” Doyle said. “The many programs offered through Family Services assist people of all backgrounds.”

The Poughkeepsie SNUG program is considered to be one of the most successful SNUG programs in the state.  “We have a very strong SNUG team in place and a very strong series of youth programs,” Doyle said while expressing confidence that SNUG would continue to function.

Long has a history of outbursts.  While serving on the Poughkeepsie City School District Board of Education, she made several threats and verbally attacked then-Board President Felicia Watson.  That account can be found here.

In July of this year, while serving on the city council, Long made allegations that the new president of the school board, Tom O’Neill, was biased and spent several years “locking up black and brown parents” during his career as a police officer.  Long was unaware that O’Neill has been recognized by the NAACP for his work in the community.

**Councilwoman Debra Long was not contacted for this story because the Mid-Hudson News reporter had been advised by Ms. Long on September 7, 2022, via text message “You do whatever you have to do..Please don’t reach out to me ever again”.  The request from Ms. Long was made while the reporter was seeking Ms. Long’s version of an incident at the Dutchess County Office Building in which Ms. Long was heard by several people accusing DMV employees of being biased against her due to her skin color.