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Is History Repeating Itself In Selection Of Council President?

The Mount Vernon City Council President Conflict!

So I have been reading a lot of posts and comments on Facebook on the selection of the 2019 Mount Vernon City Council President. Today I received several calls, emails and text messages asking me what is going on. Seems there is a little confusion among the council members and they can not come to a vote. I’m hearing its 2-2 with one council member possibly not voting. So it’s time for some REAL TALK. #FactsOverFeelings

While the charter doesn’t state much on the matter other than, “The City Council shall determine the rules of its own proceedings and be the judge of the election, returns, and qualifications of its members,” it has been the customary practice – from what I’m told – that the President Pro Tempore (Council Vice President) would serve as the Council President the following year and the Acting President Pro Tem would be the President Pro Tempore and so forth.

Former City Councilwoman Karen Watts-Yehudah (Jan 2009-Dec 2013), now an Ordained Elder at Saint James Presbyterian Church, who served as Council President from Jan 2011-Jan 2012 explained her experience on a recent post of Facebook;

“For years the City Council has been quite diligent with their vote. Years ago the vote for the presidency used to be a matter of who’s turn it was – sort of a round robin thing. But they got away from that and started really looking at the total picture of leadership. From what I’ve been told (and read) over the past year, the 2019 CC President may very well become Acting Mayor. Given that very real possibility, I know they will be particularly conscious of their decision. I wish them all the very best of luck!” 

Four years ago we had a similar situation when there was a possibility that  Mayor Ernest D. Davis might go to jail or have to step down as mayor, Council President Pro Tempore Richard W. Thomas was next in line to become Council President. Many feared if that happened Thomas would be Acting Mayor in 2015 as he ran for mayor and many were against that, While I an not quite sure if that ever happened before the customary practice that had been followed had been broken, Councilman Marcus Griffith was elected Council President because it was believed by any including City Democratic Committee Chairman Reginald A. Lafayette that Griffith would be the best equipt to handle to duties of Acting Mayor and both Roberta Apuzzo (2014) and Yuhanna Edwards (2010) had just previously served as President.

Marcus A. Griffith was Council President 2015 & 2016 and Roberta Apuzzo was President Pro Tempore, Roberta Apuzzo went on to be President in 2017 and Lisa A. Copeland was President Pro Tempore. 2018 Copeland was elected President and Andre Wallace was elected President Pro Tempore. In the previous customary practice of the council, Andre Wallace would be next in line of succession.

But here is where it gets tricky and a little confusing. It seems like history may be repeating itself. Like Davis in 2014, Mayor Thomas who just rejected a plea deal last week in his corruption case with the NYS AG’s office may be facing jail time and there are forces that would not like to see the normal order of things continue. Two new council persons feel they want or should be council president and another refuses to vote for Councilman Wallace because they publicly stated they do not like him (imagine that). 

If the council doesn’t break this 2-2 tie and can not come to a collective consensus, then the current council president will serve another term. No real incentive for the current council president to break the tie, which I think is egregious. If there is a customary practice it should be followed regardless of tribal political feelings.

“As 2nd Vice Chair of the Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee, the process should be followed,” Cathlin Gleason shares with Black Westchester. “If there is no agreement among Council members then I suggest members continue to meet until the process is followed and satisfactory to all involved!”

If the residents can not trust the council to get something small as this together, how can they trust those they voted for to serve in the council to put their egos aside and do what’s in the best interest of the city. This is not a rally cry for Councilman Wallace or a shot taken at anyone council member but a call to collectively get it together, so they can move forward and work together on the many issues that need to be addressed. 

Every resident, district leader, and registered voter should fill tomorrow’s city council chamber and urge our council to get it together.

Call the City Democratic Committee Chair Reginald Lafayette 914-995-5705 This makes us all look bad, either you are going to follow the process or not, but when you pick and choose when to follow it, how can we trust you when it comes to holding anyone else to the rule of law.

Stop the inward bickering and get it together

7PM Tue. 12/11 – City Council Committee Meeting
7PM Wed. 12/12 – City Council Meeting

Call the City Clerk 914-665-2348 by 2pm to speak at council meeting, let your voice be heard!

Below is the contact info to your current City Council members if you want to reach out to them individually!!!

City Council PresidentLisa A. Copeland (D)
City Council President Pro Tem
Chair, Legislation and Public Works
Co-Chair, Public Safety and Codes
Andre Wallace (D)
City Council  Acting President Pro Tem
Chair, Human Resources
Co-Chair, Finance and Planning
Janice Duarte (D)
City Councilperson
Chair, Public Safety and Codes
Co-Chair, Legislation and Public Works
Delia M. Farquharson (D)
City Councilperson
Chair, Finance and Planning
Co-Chair, Human Resources
Marcus A. Griffith (D)


About AJ Woodson (2394 Articles)
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,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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