Mount Vernon: Comptroller v. Mayor, Recap

Twas the Sunday before Christmas…December 23, 2018. AJ Woodson, Producer and Host of Black Westchester / People Before Politics asked me to be a guest on his show. Why? He happened to notice that I attended an annual report conference held by the Comptroller of Mount Vernon, NY the prior Thursday, December 20, 2018 at Mount Vernon City Hall. Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas posted an excerpt of the meeting on Facebook, and there I was in the second row, seated next to A’tif Khalil, who reported on the session for Black Westchester. Small world.

The meeting was a public briefing by Deborah Reynolds, Comptroller for the City of Mount Vernon, to explain the status of the budget. Her remarks were centered on the draft 2019 fiscal budget, which at that point had not been presented to the Board of Estimate.

There were also charged political accusations against the Mayor, including allegations that she is unable to perform her duties because of an administrative lockout from the City’s general ledger software, MUNIS. Missed filings. Unauthorized purchases. More.

When I was asked to be a guest on BW, I dusted off my meeting notes, and then began to parse through several key documents that provide the backstory to this intriguing he-said-she-said matter. In September 2018, the Mayor filed an Article 78 lawsuit to compel the Comptroller to pay over $1 million dollars in unpaid bills, including $278,000 for the attorneys representing the City in the lawsuit itself. In October 2018, Mayor Thomas petitioned Governor Andrew Cuomo to remove Comptroller Reynolds from her position. There are more clues about the current state in Reynold’s response document.

In short, it’s a complicated mess, but in this episode of People Before Politics, I was given a generous amount of time to break it down, to the best of my ability, based on the publicly available reports and filings.

Many thanks to the Black Westchester team, for this opportunity to parse it out and try to make sense of the matter. People Before Politics is a great show. I look forward to it every Sunday at 6:00 PM at inthemixxradio.com.

I’d appreciate any feedback you may have to offer. @redbluetalk

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