Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas is going to open up the books and investigate the city’s finances after winning a decisive court ruling over Comptroller Deborah Reynolds.
Supreme Court Justice Susan Cacace ruled this week that Reynolds is to stop blocking Thomas’ administration’s access to printed and online financial records that will “allow him to determined how much money the city truly has.”
Thomas and Reynolds have been butting heads for months, with both pointing fingers at each other for the city’s woes, financially and otherwise.
“This court finds that the drafters of the City Charter clearly expressed their intention…to vest authority in the Mayor of the City of Mount Vernon to himself examine, or to designate other competent individuals to examine the books and records of all departments of the City, including the Comptroller’s Office, the Finance Department and any bank account owned by the city as often as he wishes to do so, and without first being required to provide notice to the Comptroller’s Office,” Cacace wrote in her decision.
Thomas was quick to praise the court’s decision, calling it “a victory for the people of Mount Vernon.” With the court ruling behind him, the mayor said that now he has full access to the city’s financial records, he will do a forensic examination of every account.
“This is a major victory for transparency, because for the first time in a quarter century we’re going to start being able to see real details,” he said on Wednesday. “I’m really looking forward to being able to construct what’s going on, because the people of Mount Vernon have been unjustly suffering at the hands of the people that just want power. This is a real blow to that power structure.
“This is a real big hit at a power structure that’s kept Mount Vernon down for years. This is why it’s important that the fight be waged.”
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