MOUNT VERNON, NY — May 23, 2019 — The newly established City of Mount Vernon Charter Revision Commission presented its members to the public Wednesday.
Mayor Richard Thomas formally established the Charter Revision Commission on May 20 to address a local government structure that is perceived by many residents as dysfunctional and negatively affecting services to the people.
Commission Chairman Derickson K. Lawrence introduced his fellow commission members, all of whom are Mount Vernon residents from very diverse backgrounds.
“We have gridlock. We have paralysis,” Lawrence said of Mount Vernon’s government. “We have to look beyond the next election and look at the framework, which is where we are today.”
The commission is not about any person or group, but about Mount Vernon’s people and its future. The purpose of the commission is:
· To consider the adequacy of the current form of City government under the Charter; and the intra-municipal relationship of the City’s elected branches of government under the Charter.
· To consider and propose such revisions or amendments to the Charter, or propose a new charter, that the CMVCRC may determine and recommend as to be appropriate.
“We’re not going to begin with answers like, What are our first steps in changing the charter? Today it’s really just the beginning of a process. One that will inform our perspective of where the problems are,” said Lawrence.
The commission’s members, a diverse group of Mount Vernon residents, include:
· Derickson K. Lawrence, a management consultant with KPMG and a director of the global consulting and technology giant – the Gartner Group. He has over 30 years of experience in banking, management consulting, technology and executive management.
· Michael Templeton and his wife have been residents of Mount Vernon for 22 years. Mr. Templeton is a lawyer and he has practiced law for 35 years.
· W. Dwight McLeod has 27 years of Fortune 100 experience in e-business client management, sales & marketing, product development, training development, job evaluation and development, materials acquisition and contract negotiations.
· Vanessa Ridder and her family have lived in Mount Vernon since 2003. Over the course of her career, she has led various creative branding, business development, and market research initiatives for both the private and public sectors.
· Jesse L. Askew is an award-winning marketing executive with two decades of experience. He served as senior vice president at Digital Factory in Chicago, vice president at Ruder Finn and vice president at Ketchum in New York City, leading campaigns for Ford Motors, Mondelez, Kodak, Kering, and Novartis.
· Paul B. Avery has lived in the Fleetwood neighborhood where he lives with his wife and son since 2003. He has over 30 years of financial experience in the commercial real estate industry and he has worked with several international companies, including MetLife, Prudential, General Electric and Deutsche Bank.
· Michael Justino is a lifelong resident and third-generation Mount Vernonite. He is currently the president of the Fleetwood Neighborhood Association and he served as a Planning Board Commissioner from 2010 to 2018.
· Mary Kingsley is an associate broker at J. Philip Real Estate, where she has been a multiple-year million-dollar producer. She is an elementary school teacher at P.S. 87 in the Bronx.
· Kevin Cullen is a senior banking executive with more than 25 years of experience at JPMorganChase, Bear Stearns and Barclays. In his current role at MUFG, a global Japanese bank, he is responsible for executing leveraged finance transactions.
· Eileen L. Lambert is the director of human resources, employee engagement for a NYC charter school network. Prior to her new appointment, she spent 17 years at a Fortune 100 company as an associate director of human resources.
· Anitra Hadley is the board chair of Girls Inc. Westchester. She has worked as a project manager and director of business management at the Harlem Village Academies, as the COO of the East River Development Alliance and as an assistant vice president-Horizon at JP Morgan Chase.
· Ibrahim Abdul-Matin is a partner at Green Squash a company that provides strategy and support around environmental and infrastructure policy, land use process, strategies for climate adaptation and equity in building code enforcement, among other services.
Once the commission has completed reviewing the entire charter and preparing a draft of a proposed new or revised charter, that draft will be presented to the public for comment.
A proposed charter and/or recommended amendments taking in consideration the public’s input will then be completed and filed with the city clerk in time for submission to the voters.
The proposed charter or amendments may be submitted in a single proposal or may be presented in parts with alternative provisions among which the voters may choose.
The commission’s next meetings are tentatively scheduled for May 30, June 6 and June 13. Locations and times have not been finalized.
Source: Lou Migliore, Thomas Press Office