City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison’s Response on Separation of Powers Lawsuit Filed by the Common Council
On December 29, 2020, the Common Council of the City of Poughkeepsie filed a lawsuit to vacate my September 3, 2020 Mayoral message vetoing Resolution R20-68, in which the Common Council unnecessarily authorized Council Chair Salem to execute a professional service agreement with a consultant to assist the Council to review the proposed revisions to the City’s Local waterfront Revitalization Program (“LWRP”). I vetoed Resolution R20-68 pursuant to Section 3.02(f) of the City Charter because I believed the contract was an unnecessary taxpayer expense based on the opinion and advice provided by the City’s Planning Director. The Common Council failed to adopt a resolution to override my veto. As a result, the Common Council has taken legal action.
The Common Council’s action to take this matter to court without even attempting to discuss it with me, and presumably the City’s Corporation Counsel, is deeply flawed, highly regrettable and clearly a disservice to the taxpayers. I have always been willing to discuss this matter directly with the Council, without costly litigation, but the Council has chosen a different, litigious path. Council leadership has no interest in direct dialogue, as evidenced by their decision to remove the longstanding tradition of mayoral comments at Council meetings.
It is my greatest concern that the Common Council’s action will adversely impact the City and my ability to effectively carry out my responsibilities as Mayor. As a result of the Council’s questionable, unilateral decision to file a lawsuit, I am compelled to take counter legal action and am seeking an order to stop the Council’s absurd and costly bid to overturn the long-standing responsibilities of the Mayor, the Common Council and the Administration, as set forth in the City’s charter. I do want to emphasize that I have been and remain willing, at any time, to meet with the Council to discuss and resolve these differences. Unfortunately, the Council’s actions have shown they have no interest in such dialogue, and their decision instead to take this matter directly to court will result in longstanding consequences to the city and the taxpayers who will have to foot the bill.”