The “gross negligence and dereliction of duty” Hezitorial
MOUNT VERNON, NY — July 18, 2021 — Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard declared the obvious: the vehicles necessary to sustain public safety have been permitted to deteriorate to the point of being considered dilapidated and unsafe to operate. The known crisis has been a long standing concern. It is recognized that the Mount Vernon Police Department (MVPD) as vigilant and focused on their responsibilities as they are cannot function. The bills for gasoline have not been paid by, you guessed it, Mount Vernon Comptroller Deborah Reynolds. Mayor Patterson-Howard paid for gasoline some months ago. She did so again earlier this past week.
But there is more. The Mount Vernon Department of Public works fleet of trucks are in need of repair. Over half-a-million dollars in unpaid repair bills cannot be undertaken by the city’s troubled police, fire and public works vehicles.
Patterson-Howard said the city was facing a crisis that threatened public safety. She cited $500,000 in unpaid equipment bills needed to upkeep the vehicles that have been permitted to languished due to a lack of payment. The mayor pointed an accusatory finger at Mount Vernon Comptroller Deborah Reynolds. Ms. Reynolds who was sworn into office 3 ½ years ago, revealed her conduct to be, at best, defined as “gross negligence and dereliction of duty” as noted by the Mount Vernon mayor.
Taxpayers are known to have called Mount Vernon City Hall asserting that they had submitted check payment for taxes but the checks had yet to be cashed months after being sent. This too has been going on for years.
The DPW garage where equipment is housed is falling apart. The roof does not, in fact cannot keep the rain from entering the building interior, causing even further damage to the I repaired roof and the equipment within.
Last week the city had to also suspend yard waste pickup for the balance of the month due to the fact that there were an insufficient number of operational trucks to address the issue. In fact, only 8 of of 14 trucks are operational! “The treads are getting ready to come off,” Patterson-Howard said in a video from the DPW yard she posted on Facebook. “Our workers can’t continue to operate in this condition.” DPW Commissioner Damani Bush advised the tires on the trucks are bald and are a safety hazard to operate in the condition they are in.
While Mount Vernonites suffer the travails, indignity, and safety concerns of these issues, every conceivable effort to ameliorate such concerns has languished in the courts, despite directives demanded by various judges. It is as if the court’s directives have been summarily dismissed and languish in the annals of history.
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has advised Ms. Reynolds of standards that are universally accepted, but she does not comply. Perhaps her capacity to adopt such accepted practice is beyond her proficiency,
The fact that Ms. Reynolds will not be running for a second term may be the only resolution Mount Vernon will get. In the meanwhile the city is destined to suffer until the end of the year.