Press Release Originally Issued on March 15, 2017 By Mount Vernon Comptroller Maureen Walker Received Today Through Another Source, on March 18, 2017
MOUNT VERNON, NY — March 18, 2017 –“Beginning two days before the expected snowstorm, Mayor Thomas embarked on a crusade of inciting fear on the residents and businesses of Mount Vernon by using social and other media to let them know that 30 inches of snow was coming and the City had no fuel to power the DPW trucks. At the same time he falsely proclaimed that the City Comptroller was not paying the fuel bills.
“The Department of Finance monitors the delivery of fuel and the average use of fuel since we pay the bills. We knew at that time we had an adequate supply of fuel to get us through the snow storm. The Mayor, rather than coordinating his efforts with the Department of Finance to ‘weather the storm’ for the good of our City, chose to demonize the Comptroller for ‘not paying the bills.’”
“Checks for the payment of bills, including fuel, that originate in the Comptroller’s Office, are signed by the Comptroller and then forwarded to the Mayor for his signature, prior to be mailing to the suppliers. We have copies of the cancelled checks that stand as evidence of the payment of fuel bills. Check #136407 in the amount of $3,180.52 and check # 136374 in the amount $3,189.52 for the payment of fuel bills was forwarded to the Mayor’s office on March 9, 2017 and March 10, 2017. At the time of proclaiming “30 inches of snow, no fuel” the checks for the payment of the fuel were lying on his desk awaiting his signature. The signed checks were returned to my office on Monday, March 13, 2017, along with the other one-hundred-and-fifty-one checks that he was holding for extended periods of time. As a precaution, the Comptroller’s Office used another form of payment for the supplier.
“Was this action by the Mayor simply a ‘dereliction of duty,’ or, was it a willful and malicious attempt to have the City run out of fuel so he could blame it on the Comptroller? When we consider the fact that the Mayor has refused to sign checks for Con Edison since January, 2017, totaling $110,634.07 the latter seems a distinct possibility.
“As the City Comptroller, I know my job very well and together with my highly motivated and professional staff, we manage the city’s financial and non-financial assets without much fanfare. Thank you and good day.”