Mount Vernon — Acting Fire Commissioner Ernest Richardson has handed in his resignation effective immediately and returned to the line Tuesday, sources tell BW. Another Mayor Thomas appointee resigning from an ‘already troubled administration’ as News 12 referred to it.
Another Thomas Administration appointee bites the dust, while others play music chairs.
Deborah Norman, who Mayor Thomas told Lohud was “on her way out,” after he was sworn in on New Years Day, was Deputy Police Commissioner and will now be the new Deputy Fire Commissioner, making room for Honorary Deputy Police Commissioner Sean Harris to move into the paid Deputy Police Commissioner position that was held by Norman.
Deputy Commissioner Harris appeared at the August 10th City Council meeting defending his job and why he doesn’t live in the City of Mount Vernon, ‘because he can not afford too,’ as the residency requirement requests.
Judge Leary ruled that the Charter is unambiguous and clear as to the whole residency requirement, but as to date Mayor Thomas has stood his ground on his appointments who do not live in the City of Mount Vernon, despite a letter from the City Council requesting removal of Commissioner who do not live in the city, including Sean Harris who lives in New Windsor.
Details are still sketchy why Richardson, who to date was a strong Thomas loyalist has tendered his resignation as Deputy Fire Commissioner.
“I support former Deputy Commissioner Richardson’s decision to return to the line,” Mayor Richard Thomas tells BW. “I am thankful for his continued commitment to the people of Mount Vernon. He remains an integral part of the Thomas Administration.”
For those reading this, saying didn’t I read this last month, that would be because on July 26th, News 12 Westchester reported; Acting Fire Commissioner Ernie Richardson and Chief of Operations Thomas Duffy are apparently the two latest appointees of Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas’ administration to call it quits.
Richardson and Duffy are the third and fourth cabinet members who have left their jobs or have been forced to step down from the Thomas administration in the last few months. Human resources director Eric Pogue quit weeks ago, reportedly for a new job. Back in March, the mayor abruptly fired Ray Kelley, his public safety commissioner.
The following day, Wednesday, July 27th a statement was issued from Mayor Thomas’ office denouncing the resignation of Commissioner Richardson, including a statement from Richardson himself; but confirming Chief Duffy had resigned.
Acting Commissioner Ernie Richardson said, “Recent rumors regarding my potential resignation are absolutely and unequivocally false. This administration does not play politics with public safety. There are those that wish to create divisions and keep Mount Vernon in the past. I stand beside Mayor Thomas; together, we are committed to moving Mount Vernon forward. I thank Chief Duffy for his service. I have accepted his resignation and allowed him to return to the line.”
Mayor Richard Thomas said, “Acting Commissioner Ernie Richardson has informed me that he has accepted the resignation of Thomas Duffy as Chief of the Department. I join him in thanking Chief Duffy for his service.”
While our sources told us there was a dispute that led to Richardson turning in his resignation and the it was later rescinded, the story quickly disappeared from the news cycle, until now, twenty-seven days later. This time the mayor confirms Richardson has in fact resigned at Fire Commissioner and has returned to the line.
One thing that can not be debated is, it has been a long almost nine months for the Thomas Administration and the Mount Vernon Fire Department who have both been the lead on local news several times in this first three-quarters of the first year of the Thomas Administration. With so many opposing reports being shared in the media and social media it’s hard to keep score some times in Mount Vernon when it comes to getting the entire story.
Calls to Richardson to get further clarification on the matter, have gone unreturned. We will bring you further details in this developing story!
Ernest Richardson was previously the president of the Mount Vernon Firefighters Local 107 and out on 207-A for a Line of Duty Job Injury, before being appointed to Deputy Fire Commissioner. Richardson was sworn in Monday, January 11th at 10 A.M. in the City Council Chambers.
Article updated Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 4:50 P.M.