The mayor of one of Westchester’s largest cities is sounding the alarms and declaring a State of Emergency as the community contends with “gross negligence and dereliction of duty” of the city’s Comptroller.
Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard announced on Thursday, July 15 that she has declared a State of Emergency due to internal strife at City Hall as Comptroller Deborah Reynolds allegedly failed to process or pay invoices for hundreds of thousands of dollars for city vehicles.
According to Patterson-Howard, Reynolds has failed to pay approximately $500,000 for critical parts and maintenance of police, fire, and public works vehicles, prompting the declaration of a State of Emergency.
Patterson-Howard said that the financial “nearly (the city’s) entire fleet of vehicle has been impacted by this crisis.”
The announcement of a State of Emergency came a day after the city announced that it will be suspending yard waste pickup through the rest of July due to a shortage of operable vehicles.
Patterson-Howard said that they will lean on their neighbors in the interim, and that the State of Emergency will remain in place until she issues a new order ending it.
“This decision was not made lightly and to this end, we are working with our surrounding municipalities and government leaders to provide temporary relief to this crisis,” she said.
The mayor said that the city will be asking to borrow and share equipment, supplies, and vehicles during the State of Emergency, while funneling federal funds to ensure some essential services continue operating, though it could take some time.
“We have allocated only with the American Rescue Plan towards police, fire, and public works vehicles to prevent a public health crisis from spreading in Mount Vernon,” Patterson-Howard said. “It is understood that the procurement of these vehicles may take months to arrive, and we have identified potential solutions involving rentals until the end of the year.”
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