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Mayor Davis Fights To Keep Probation Office In Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon – Since the November 3rd General Election, Mount Vernon residents have been bombarded by continued campaigning, division from our elected officials and their supporters, blogs, email-blast and social media attacks of politicians, robocalls, rumors of privation of DPW, double-digit tax increases and lets not forget the back and forth from both sides of what is being touted as contamination soil and the madness of a Memorial mistake in the renovation of its long closed stadium.

One of the greatest forms of media manipulation and a powerful tool of the government, is to divert the public’s attention away from real issues that will truly affect the community with propaganda. One of these important issues that has been overshadowed by the craziness we all hoped would end after the election is the closing of the Mount Vernon Probation office on December 15. Friday afternoon many stakeholders stood in unity against the closing of the probation office.

With three weeks left before Mayor Ernest D. Davis hands the keys to City Hall to Mayor-Elect Richard Thomas who is slated to take office January 2, 2016, Davis appears to be using his remaining days to fight for whats important to Mount Vernon, in an effort to leave things in good standing for the transition to a new administration.

Davis sent a letter to Commissioner Rocco Pozzi of the Westchester County Department of Probation, Thursday, asking they rethink the relocation of the probation office to White Plains and return it back to the city of Mount Vernon.

I have always believed that government exist for the betterment of society; to aid and abet its citizens. Yet, too often I find those in the greatest need of help are ignored; thus disrupting the peace and tranquility needed or an orderly society. A glaring example (and there are many) is the relocation of the probation office in Mount Vernon. A city this disproportionately affected by this relocation. 

For over 20 years the Department of Probation has served this often crime plagued portion of the county. Because of the relationship between probation officers and the community, relationships were formed with that section of the community in need of intervention and supervision, thus instilling new hope and a safer community.

Placing this service in White Plains immediately compromises this good rapport and further places a tremendous hardship on clients and the city; some as young as 8 years of age, who cannot afford the time and cost of travel. The prevention of this vulnerable class to comply with the department will be almost lost. The penal system will certainly be called upon to cover for this short-sighted and ill-advised decision. Any savings anticipated will simply be shifted to a more punitive and more expensive remedy.

Please rethink this policy and return the probation office back to the city of Mount Vernon.

Mayor Davis joined the stakeholders, elected officials, clergy and leaders of the community, Friday afternoon to speak against the relocation of the probation office at the press conference in front the probation office slated to close December 15.

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AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.

1 Comment on Mayor Davis Fights To Keep Probation Office In Mount Vernon

  1. Dennis McDermott // December 11, 2015 at 8:16 PM //

    The rather abrupt closure of the County Probation Office in Mount Vernon is a very clear example of what noted economist Lester Thurow presciently described in his text, “The Zero Sum Society” (1980).

    Simply stated, Thurow’s premise is that if one strata of government cuts back on services (i.e. the County, in its attempt to keep taxes flat by reducing services), the need for those services will not disappear, thus they must be replaced through another source.

    The source of funding to replace the missing services in this case will be (a) taxpayers in the City of Mount Vernon who will end up funding some sort of ‘band-aid’ replacement solution; and (b) individuals who are on probation, and who will incur additional costs of time and bus fare required to travel to and from White Plains.

    While some silver-tongued political hack sitting on the 9th floor of the County Office Building in White Plains will patiently explain how much more efficient and effective it will be for everyone involved in this system, the fact remains that the very folks who have lived at the bottom of the ladder all of their lives; whom we claim to be guiding back into mainstream society through the probation system; and who will cost society dearly if they don’t graduate out of the probation system, are being handed another barrier by Westchester County Government.

    A County Government which – for the past several years – has exhibited a callous disregard toward the laws and regulations of both our State and Federal governments; toward lower-income people in general; and particularly toward people who represent protected classes under federal civil rights laws (subtle, but disparate actions which discriminate toward people of certain races; color; religion; age; sex; disabilities; or national origin).

    “First they came for the Homeless, and I did not speak out — because I was not Homeless.

    Then they came for the Single Mothers with children, and I did not speak out — because I was not a child.

    Then they came for our neighbors who asked for an opportunity to live in Fair and Affordable Housing, and I did not speak out — because …..

    Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me…”

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