Bronx Assistant District Attorney Cristina Park was forced to resign after The Post brought her Closter, New Jersey address to the attention of the DA’s office on Monday. District Attorney employees are required to live in New York, and Park, who’d recently been promoted by new DA Darcel Clark, did not get a waiver to live out-of-state. Park’s resignation came a day after The Post also revealed that other Bronx prosecutors had been given promotions despite blemishes on their records.
Just miles north of the Bronx, Mount Vernon Councilman André Wallace and the rest of the Council, following the Mount Vernon City Charter, attempted to enforce the Charter’s residency requirements of several of the city’s Commissioners and was met with very different results than neighboring NYC County of the Bronx. They was met with resistance from the mayor’s office.
Councilman Wallace and the rest of the City Council sent letters to several commissioners including Former Public Safety Commissioner Robert Kelly, who resides in Harrison, Former Deputy, now Acting Fire Commissioner Ernest Richardson (New Rochelle), First Corporation Council Maria Donovan (Queens), DPW Commissioner Ralph Uzzi (New Jersey) and others and Mayor Richard Thomas took Councilman Wallace and the Mt. Vernon City Council to court to block the council’s enforcement of the MV City Charter’s residency requirements, which states Commissioners must live in the City of Mount Vernon or get a waiver from the City Council.
Mayor Richard Thomas, according to the City Council made the appointments despite the residency requirement and never contacted the Council to request a waiver. Without a waiver from the council, Commissioners are required to move to the City of Mount Vernon or resign like Bronx Assistant DA Cristina Park was forced to.
Now the matter is in the hands of a judge, who will have to rule on the residency requirement, that the Council had been trying to enforce. Despite the negative press and Facebook rants from Thomas Administration supporters, The New York Post shows there maybe some merit to the Council’s action and not just them picking on the new mayor as has been suggested.
The same day the Post article came out Mayor Thomas released the following statement:
Mayor Thomas looks to recruit Mount Vernon’s next top talent
Mayor Richard Thomas is actively recruiting new talent to City Hall. The Mayor Thomas will be further staffing his Administration with professionals who understand the spirit of Mount Vernon and are committed to righting our future. Those who apply must have the energy to work tirelessly for the people of Mount Vernon, the commitment to get the job done efficiently; integrity to serve the citizens of Mount Vernon and the innovative mindset to transform how government works.
Mayor Richard Thomas said “We are looking to bring more talent into the administration to help lead us into a new chapter here in Mount Vernon. I eagerly await qualified and passionate candidates to help serve in these roles and help make Mount Vernon great. We are looking for people who are transformative and innovative and understand the unique challenges of government and how to resolve them.”
It’s time for some REAL TALK! If he sent this out after winning the election, instead of making appointments with individuals who did not live within the city limits and apparently have no intention on moving here, we may not be in the situation we are in now! If the City of Mount Vernon isn’t good enough for them to live in then maybe they should not work there, and take the money out of the city, county and state to where they live!
It’s time to get past the rhetoric, the pomp and circumstance, the symbolism without substance. If as Councilman, Thomas was all about the charter when it came to former Mayor Ernest D. Davis, and Thomas invoked the residency requirements to knock another candidate out of the race, when he was running for City Council, why is he attempting to block moves of the council who are fighting for the very same thing (defending he charter), now that he is the Mayor? Do the rules of the game change because the players have? After reading the Post article, maybe we could have avoided the court cases that the residents will pay for and all the fighting in the press and social media. All we are asking for is what Mayor Thomas campaigned on and called for as a City Councilman; Transparency In Our Local Government!