The Paper Trail Hezitorial
MOUNT VERNON, NY — May 22, 2019 — It was on Sunday, May 19, 2019 that the Mount Vernon Tribune / Yonkers Tribune published the lede: “Mount Vernon Mayor Thomas Arrived in Massachusetts Today, Sunday, May 19, 2019 By Hezi Aris”. That article informed Mount Vernonites that Mayor Thomas had departed Mount Vernon without officially informing the City Clerk, despite suggesting he would be departing for Massachusetts on Monday. What Mayor Thomas did suggests his personal demons have insinuated a sense of paranoia and distrust in him of those elected to the City Council. He is required by law to inform the City Clerk in writing so as to temporarily entrust City Council President André Wallace to conduct the affairs of the City of Mount Vernon in whatever capacity reveals itself to be acted upon on behalf of protecting Mount Vernon and all its residents.
When we first made inquiry of people with knowledge on Sunday, we were met with disbelief and incredulity to the integrity of our writing. Mount Vernon Tribune / Yonkers Tribune were proven correct when Mount Vernon City Hall sent a press release with the lede: “Mayor Thomas Continues His Innovation Agenda at Harvard Retreat”.
Instead, Mayor Thomas departed on Sunday, for Cambridge, Massachusetts to attended a retreat held at the John F. Kennedy School of Government Ash Center’s RISE Initiative yet not ever ascribing his name to any official document noting his departure for a three days long retreat. Mayor Thomas asserts the Harvard Kennedy School report outlines Mount Vernon’s current strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats so as to help Mount Vernon respond to community need and achieve its goals of rising. In so doing, Mayor Thomas abrogated his responsibility to pass the baton for the time of his not being in Mount Vernon to conduct and safeguard the public’s interest and well being.
3½ years into his term in office and Thomas is still attempting to RISE, yet he refuses to admit his personal failings and his deficient leadership capacity has robbed the City of Mount Vernon their ability to rise. It is Mayor Thomas’ lack of vision and inappropriate conduct by him that was the catalyst that robbed Mount Vernon its capacity to be resuscitated for a better outcome and future. Mayor Thomas had talented and supportive people of unimaginable knowledge in governance, protocol, finance, and law who did show him a road paved with success that would have and could have eclipsed the contentiousness that has metastasized under Mount Vernon Comptroller Deborah Reynolds.
Both she and Mayor Thomas exemplified the lack of trust these strong willed elected officials had of each other. As they fought their battles, mostly behind the scenes, never fully explaining the issues that distanced them from one another, it permitted each to point an accusatory finger at each other and others, so as to earn brownie points that Mount Vernonites could never fathom and still don’t.
Comptroller Reynolds asserts she does not have the sufficient paperwork to make payment for one item or another. A meeting between her, Mayor Thomas, and the entire City Council could have coerced the culprit of the scams / illegalities / dysfunctions and by its airing would have culminated in resolution on every issue. For some unknown reason the dysfunction captivated the minds of all interested and concerned for Mount Vernon as the clock continued to move ahead while Mount Vernon maintained its deadlock. The decision of who will be the next mayor will be decided by the Democratic Primary Election that is scheduled for this June 25th.
Joe Spiezio, III has been an albatross around Mayor Thomas’ neck. Joe Spiezio, III appointed Police Commissioner by Mayor Thomas will come to haunt Mayor Thomas for all his days. And why is Joe Spiezio, III still wearing a Mount Vernon Police Department jacket when he was supposedly dismissed. Has Spiezio been re-instated? If so, why? Comptroller Reynolds did not return one of the four requests for a callback last week. No one picked up the telephone on Monday either.
Mount Vernon City Councilmember Lisa Copeland and Mount Vernon Planning Commissioner Chantelle Okarter also attended this retreat. One must also wonder who paid for this retreat?
Thomas’ maintaining the employ of Ms. Fraida Hickson who pleaded guilty to credit card theft is thereby a convicted felon awaiting sentencing in September. She has not been dismissed from her job and yet the Mount Vernon City Charter demands she be dismissed.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has the power to dismiss a mayor. Perhaps it is time for the governor to do so. The governor does not have the right to dismiss a comptroller. These modalities should have been initiated by the Mount Vernon City Council. With only weeks away from the Primary Elections, Governor Cuomo may not wish to become involved. Even so, the Mount Vernon City Council should inform Governor Cuomo to dismiss Mayor Thomas now!
There is little that can be initiated now to resolve a vast array of issues that are keeping Mount Vernon down rather than permitting it to rise. The responsibility now rests squarely on the shoulders of the voters.
The candidates, in alphabetical order, are Clyde A. Isley, Shawyn Patterson-Howard, Richard Thomas, and André Wallace.