The lengthy game of musical chairs over who ultimately lands in the mayor’s seat in Mount Vernon may have come to a merciful end after more than five weeks of debate.
A state judge has determined that Andre Wallace is the mayor of Mount Vernon, and will stay in that seat through the remainder of the year.
"Today a Supreme Court Judge ruled in favor of me," Wallace said. "I assumed the role of acting mayor the moment former-Mayor Richard Thomas took a plea deal. No action to change city council leadership changes that."
The ruling ends 37 days of mayoral mayhem over who was actually in charge of the city.
The carousel began on Monday, July 8, when then-Mayor Thomas pleaded guilty to misappropriating nearly $13,000 in campaign funds and then went on to lie about them on government papers. He was originally scheduled to resign as of Sept. 30.
Two days after Thomas’ plea, citing a clause in the City Council, the City Council removed him from office and appointed then-Council President Wallace to take over the position, with Copeland, then a member of the Council, taking over as interim President of the Council.
Thomas eventually relented after a judge ruled against his request for an injunction that would allow him to remain in office through the end of September. He cleaned out his desk late on Wednesday, July 31.
Then, on Friday, Aug. 2, the Council then voted by a 4 to 1 margin to make Copeland the third mayor to take office in less than a month.
Wallace maintained that he was the acting mayor, while the Council deferred to Copeland, leading to another court proceeding to determine who was the real leader in Mount Vernon. The judge ruled that Wallace was awarded the position as of July 8.
Another battle is coming for the new mayor, as he is set to square off against Democratic primary victor Shawyn Patterson-Howard in the general election in November, as Mount Vernon voters generally lean toward Democrats. Whoever wins the Nov. 5 election will be sworn in as the latest Mount Vernon mayor on Jan. 1.
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