POUGHKEEPSIE – Camilo Bunyi is the new Poughkeepsie city administrator, but only after Mayor John Tkazyik exercised a rare option to break a four-four City Council deadlock.
The vote followed minimal council debate, but more than an hour of public comment during which about 20 people spoke on the city administrator appointment, mostly in favor of Bunyi, who has been the city finance commissioner. The small citizen opposition came from mostly from CSEA members who accused Bunyi of having a hostile attitude toward the union.
Among the citizens praising Bunyi was Naomi Goldberg, a 30-year member of the city Planning Board and a 45-year business owner in Poughkeepsie.
“Mr. Bunyi has done a good job as commissioner of finance in working with the mayor to keep our taxes down to a reasonable level this time of economic crisis. He really looks out for the taxpayers in the city,” Goldberg said.
Not everyone agreed. Critics cited recent errors in bookkeeping and in faulty tax bills sent out earlier this year.
Democrat Majority Leader Nina Boyd cited what she felt were communications problems at several levels, including with the way the city advertised the vacant position.
“After speaking with several people, professional references and former administrations, I strongly feel we need to look into another candidate,” Boyd said.
Another Democrat, Gwen Johnson came to the defense of the Republican mayor and his appointee.
“Mr. Bunyi is a city resident”, Johnson said. “He knows the challenges. He’s accessible. He’s always there. He’s a phone call away; he returns your calls. Maybe there’s a problem with communication, as Ms. West mentioned, but I think that can be worked out.”
In the end, Democrats Johnson, Joseph Rich, Ann Perry and Republican Thomas Parise voted for Bunyi.
The other four council members voted “no,” including Chairman Robert Mallory, who three weeks ago told MidHudsonNews.Com he expected “smooth sailing” for Bunyi. He did not explain his ‘no’ vote last night.