Uh! Oh! The resettlement contractors are getting awful cocky (and desperate for new sites). I assumed (when I first mentioned Poughkeepsie) that there were some local officials brought in on the plan to begin resettling Syrians in Poughkeepsie in a few short months, but the mayor and others are denying they were informed.
It appears, according to USA Today!, that Church World Service and the US State Department acted unilaterally (and against the law!) if they have already settled on this new site.
The Refugee Act of 1980 requires consultation with local elected officials. They often skirt this requirement by putting on a small briefing for someone in local government just to check the box, but wow, they didn’t even do that here (or so the mayor says!).
From USA Today (headline: “Refugee resettlement planned for Poughkeepsie, but city officials unaware”):
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — The Church World Service network expects to settle 80 refugees in the City of Poughkeepsie in the next fiscal year in conjunction with opening a resettlement office in the city, network representative said. But area officials, including City Mayor Rob Rolison, do not have details on how the settlements will work, and the Dutchess County Executive’s Office says it did not have a hand in approving the plan.
The faith-based Church World Service network, or CWS, is set to open a resettlement office in the City of Poughkeepsie, according to Christina Levin, director for external relations at CWS.
The Poughkeepsie office, which would serve refugees from all countries, was approved by the state Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. The exact location of the office to still to be determined.
CWS’ presence in Poughkeepsie has ignited debate among the candidates for the 18th Congressional District seat in next week’s election, as well as area residents. At least one group of local organizations has banded together to support the resettlement efforts.
Levin said the CWS has been “working with a number of local partners, including the City of Poughkeepsie” in establishing the office.
But, Rolison said Wednesday he is still seeking answers regarding how the plan will work.
“We learned recently that they were considering Poughkeepsie for this, and now that is has been announced they’re going to establish one in the greater Poughkeepsie area, I’ve reached out and left a message (with CWS) about it. We’re trying to learn more details. At this point, I don’t have any,” Rolison said.
Tip for the mayor: Do not bother with CWS, just go right to the US Department of State in Washington,DC for answers. Find out from Barbara Day how all this has come about.
Concerned citizens better get registered for this meeting next week. I warn you this will be a controlled meeting which means they will probably not allow open questions from the floor. Learn a little about something called the Delphi Technique for controlling the outcome of a meeting. Here are all of our mentions of the technique, don’t let them herd you like cattle.
Church World Service will hold an information session about the new Poughkeepsie office Thursday, November 10. at the Adriance Memorial Library.
By the way CWS was the contractor where I live that was responsible for the creation of RRW in 2007 because straight answers were not forthcoming. I need to do a new dossier on their finances, but I am tired of researching today…tomorrow maybe!