Dear Mount Vernon Friends and Family,
MOUNT VERNON, NY — September 1, 2018 — This Labor Day weekend, many of us will pause to gather with friends and family over bar-b-que. We will take our children back to school shopping. We will enjoy one last warm summer weekend before the hustle and bustle of fall is upon us.
Unfortunately, these joys will not be shared by everyone. Even members of our Mount Vernon City Hall community will be struggling.
Because bad politics have once again attacked the wallets of hard-working men and women in Mount Vernon.
For months, my office and the City Council have been in discussions to collaborate on best ways to move the city forward and we have come to successful resolutions on key issues. We have funded the role of City Engineer and Planning Commissioner and added additional public safety roles, including two fire inspectors. All of these roles are essential to protecting you, the Mount Vernon resident. All of these roles are filled by talented, qualified, people committed to serving you.
So what’s the problem?
The Comptroller, Deborah Reynolds, refused to issue them their paychecks or has refused to provide them with health insurance. She refuses to recognize the actions of the Executive and Legislative Branches. She refused to recognize federal law, such as the Clean Water Act and the Vulcan Decree. She is openly flouting existing court orders. Enough is enough.
For over 50 days our city engineer, a father of four, has been denied a paycheck.
For over 100 days, our planning commissioner, the mother of a toddler, has had her salary shortened and her health insurance benefits denied.
And today, our fire inspectors and even Public Works administrative staff found themselves discriminated against and subject to the retaliatory whims of an erratic elected official.
It’s not just these City Hall staffers that are feeling the pinch. Other city employees are also forced to dig into their own pockets to help Mount Vernon’s city government operate. This summer alone, Recreation Commissioner Darren Morton put over $12,000 on his personal credit card to pay for camp trips, equipment, and the backpack giveaway. Deputy Recreation Commissioner Sylvia Gadson fronted money for the Summer Movie program. Kristyn Reed, the executive director of the Office of Veterans, did the same for the Memorial Day parade. Even our law enforcement has to bear personal costs such as Mount Vernon Police Lieutenant Anthony McEachin paying over $2,000 in advance for police equipment.
Why such a system? Many programs don’t start without deposits. The money must come from somewhere or the movies, trips, parades, and events for our children don’t happen. In our case, dedicated employees are providing the jump-start. The expectation is that they will all eventually get reimbursed – the operative word is eventually – but in the meantime, however long that takes, the expenses and credit card interest are all on them while the Comptroller dawdles.
On this Labor Day weekend, I personally want to thank these and other employees for their generosity, their sacrifice, and everything they do for our great city. As Mayor, it is my highest obligation to protect those that protect you. I am reaching out tonight because I am committed to transparency and I want you to hear it first from me. I will take all necessary legal methods to ensure these individuals are compensated and that those that do business with the city are respected. I have informed the Department of Justice of the Comptroller’s failure to comprehend the law and the magnitude of her transgression.
Please understand that, despite these obstructions, we will continue working for you. Crime is down 31 percent. Property values are on the rise. Our economy is one of the fastest growing in New York State. We will move Mount Vernon forward, despite the obstacles.
Thank you and have a safe and blessed holiday weekend,
Mayor Richard Thomas
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Call 914-665-2361 or direct email to MayorThomas@cmvny.com .
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SOURCE: Mayor Richard Thomas, Press Office.