The battle over who is in charge of Mount Vernon is heading to the State Supreme Court.
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas and Andre Wallace, who was appointed acting mayor by the city council, will have their fates determined by a judge as they continue debating who is the actual mayor of one of New York’s largest cities.
Thomas is currently seeking a restraining order that would block Wallace from performing mayoral duties and would nullify any actions taken by him, the City Council and City Comptroller Deborah Reynolds in the weeks the two have been jostling for power.
On Monday, July 8, Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas pleaded guilty to fourth-degree attempted grand larceny and second-degree offering a false statement for filing. As part of his plea deal, he agreed to resign from office as of Monday, Sept. 30.
Two days later, on Wednesday, July 10, the Mount Vernon City Council unanimously voted on legislation to remove Thomas from office immediately, giving him 24 hours to vacate City Hall. City Council President Andre Wallace was named the interim mayor, while Councilwoman Janice Duarte became the council president.
Since then, the two have been back-and-forth as they battle for the mayor’s seat. On Friday, July 19, Thomas allegedly received his final paycheck - which was only a partial check - while Wallace earned a full check.
The two are expected in state Supreme Court in White Plains on Friday, July 26. A lawyer for Thomas said that he is asking a judge to “preclude them from ‘disrupting, obstructing, or interfering in any way with Thomas' ability and authority to perform the statutory duties and obligations of the office of mayor of the City of Mount Vernon;" preclude Wallace from hiring or firing city officials; and preclude them from terminating Thomas' salary and benefits.’”
Citing a section of the city council that calls for elected officials to vacate their office if convicted of a crime, the council also passed resolutions authorizing the city comptroller to stop paying Thomas’ salary, and he was ordered to turn over any city property that he possesses.
Reynolds, who has been at odds with Thomas since taking office in January last year, said that Thomas’ time in office is over, and that that was the last paycheck he will receive for his role in that position.
“These actions are illegal, unnecessary, disruptive, embarrassing, and directly interfere with the day to day operations of municipal government," Thomas said in a statement. "The unnecessary confusion has also injured the City’s ability to conduct business. We will not tolerate immature extremists interpreting the law at the expense of the people. I will not stop defending the people and the integrity of our great city.”
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