On Wednesday, BW reported that Mayor Thomas made reference to being contacted by the Westchester District Attorney’s office which contributed to the termination of Kelly on the Good Morning Westchester radio show on WVOX 1460 AM with Bob Marrone.
“We only just started to uncover some of his actions and I knew once we heard from the District Attorney’s office, we had to act swiftly,” Mayor Thomas said via phone on WVOX.
BW reached out to Deputy Communications Director for the Westchester County District Attorney Office, Robert Wolf and they sent back an official statement from the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office with regard to our inquiry;
“The D.A.’s office plays no role in the personnel decisions with regard to any city, town or village in this county and played no role in the decision made by Mount Vernon City Hall with regard to the Commissioner of Public Safety.”
Mayor Thomas held a press conference on Monday to address the Friday, April 8th firing of Public Safety Commissioner Robert ‘Bob’ Kelly and the statement the mayor’s office released Saturday, April 9th. In the statement Saturday, the Mayor said;
“There is one direction, forward. All visionary work to increase safety and strengthen the relationship between the police and public will continue. We are proud of the work we are able to get done, and understand that more work remains. The people elected me to drive responsible reforms and culture change in City Hall. This is mission critical, particularly at the Police Department.”
In Monday’s presser the Mayor said;
“I made a business decision that was in the best interest of Mount Vernon,” and “Things often start off with the most sincere of intentions, but it didn’t work out.” Mayor Thomas insisted “It is a personnel matter.” and said “he won’t debate his rationale for the firing.”
Both the statement and press conference left the press and residents with more questions than answers, even several council members questioned the firing of Kelly.
On Wednesday, Mayor Thomas called into the WVOX morning radio show with Bob Marrone and stated; “We only just started to uncover some of his [Robert Kelly] actions and I knew once we heard from the District Attorney’s office, we had to act swiftly.”
Deputy Communications Director for the Westchester County District Attorney Office, Robert Wolf did not know what we were talking about when we called the DA’s office for a comment and asked BW to send the audio of the interview so they could hear it for themselves and responded telling BW that they: “played no role in the decision made by Mount Vernon City Hall with regard to the Commissioner of Public Safety.”
Thursday Mayor Thomas released the following statement;
“I want to clarify a statement that I made yesterday regarding my decision to terminate former Police Commissioner Bob Kelly,” Mayor Thomas said in the statement. “Please know that this is intended to be my last comment on the issue. However, I think it’s necessary for me to clear up any misimpression I might have given. My comments yesterday were intentionally cryptic. To provide more detail; my decision was not solely based on communications with the District Attorney’s office.”
Former Public Safety Commissioner Robert Kelly who was highly spoken of by the mayor when he appointed him back in January has not spoken on the incident as of yet. But documents discovered by News 12 alleges the firing of Kelly could have been personal and not a ‘business decision’ as the mayor previously stated. The News 12 report asked the question if the firing of Kelly could have been in retribution for Kelly not rehiring Mayor Thomas’ older brother, Henry-George Thomas, who retired January 7th and plead guilty to federal gun trafficking charges.
Almost a week after Commissioner Kelly was terminated it doesn’t appear we are any closer to getting answers as to why the Mayor fired his first appointee, who he himself paraded around Mount Vernon and the local black churches and sang his praises when many including Black Westchester were critical of the appointment in the first place.
Stay tuned to BW further details on this developing story as we continue to following the it in our ongoing quest for answers, that you the readers are asking us for.