Mount Vernon – Roberta Apuzzo, President of the Mount Vernon City Council scheduled press conference, Wednesday, March 15th at 3:00 PM to call for the resignation of Mayor Richard W. Thomas. Apuzzo tells Black Westchester exclusively she votes no confidence in Mayor Thomas.
While there has been an ongoing Civil War type feud between the Thomas Administration and The City Council almost for the entirety of the mayor’s 15 months in office, his latest actions seem to be the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as Councilwoman Apuzzo is concerned.
Mayor Thomas issued a press release, Monday stating; The City of Mount Vernon is currently experiencing a fuel shortage due to Comptroller Maureen Walker’s refusal to pay the city’s bills for fuel and gas, warning the residents the city may not be abe to handle the snow removal from the storm on Tuesday.
The Mayor and Commissioners of Public Safety, Fire, Public Works, Buildings, and Civil Defense filled the office of the Comptroller demanding Comptroller Walker release the payments for the vendor that they have been holding since January. He released a video of the takeover of the comptroller’s office (see video below) stating, ‘however she refused.’ In the statement that accompanied the video the mayor stated; “The Mayor and Commissioners also attempted to meet Comptroller Walker however she left the building and did not meet with them. The city’s fuel reserves are at precariously low.”
BW contacted Comptroller Walker to get to the heart of the matter and was told quite a different story than what the Mayor’s press release stated. Comptroller Walker informed BW that the first two checks were mailed out, received and cashed by Sprague Energy, the next two checks in question, had already been mailed out and the remaining two were sitting in the mayor’s office awaiting his signature and had just been returned.
The Comptroller also informed BW that she filed a police report for harassment and stated the mayor waited for her to leave the building to stage this”‘gangland style take over” of her office.
Councilwoman Apuzzo informed BW that she was on the phone with DPW around 8:00 AM, Tuesday morning and had them call Sprague Energy with her on the phone. The representative from Sprague acknowledged receipt of the payment in full and apologized for not getting the fuel to DPW, Monday night citing treacherous road conditions and promised to have it delivered in the next two hours (approximately 10:30 AM). BW called Sprague Energy for a statement but the phone was busy. We texted Mayor Thomas and his press secretary Maria Donovan the following message Tuesday night and have yet to hear back from them.
“I’ve watched the video and saw press release of unpaid invoices for fuel with due dates Feb 15th, 22nd and March 3rd and 10th dated March 8th ( the last one was not due at time letter was written). Here are my follow-up questions, you have what looked like commissioners or personnel from every dept. (Did they all also have past due invoices and if so why didn’t you share those) that would be very damning to the comptroller. If everyone else did not have invoices past due what was the reason for all of them to be there? I want to get to the bottom of this. Comptroller office says you were holding checks and just returned them so they just went out. She also said she filed a police report for harassment. So since both sides are so different, I am digging deeper so I do not get accused of putting out Fake News or write a misleading article as Joe likes to accuse us of. If u have Maureen dead to right, give me what I need to hold her feet to the fire. But right now I am left with more questions than answers and need to get to the truth.”
Councilwoman Apuzzo also expressed her frustration for the mayor once again not keeping his word. This time, during a conversation with black pastors, Mayor Thomas was told that public perception is everything and asked to refrain from throwing the council and comptroller under the bus over social media, to which the mayor is said to have agreed to.
“It didn’t take long for the Mayor to break his word once again, this time it wasn’t just with us but in the presence and to several black preachers. This as with many other highly publicized situations in the previous fifteen months was very unnecessary and only go to further divide the city and city government. We expect better and we deserve better from our mayor and since it’s obvious, you have no plans to correct your ways, no matter how many opportunities you have been afforded, I believe you should resign. I am voting no confidence in Mayor Thomas and believe he should resign.”
Councilwoman Appuzo will be holding a press conference Wednesday afternoon March 15th at 3:00 PM at City Hall. Comptroller Walker and members of the City Council and others will also be present to answer questions.