The duly noticed Board of Estimate and Contract meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 28, 2017 took a detour when two City of Mount Vernon police officers physically blocked Mount Vernon City Clerk, George W. Brown, from entering the Mayor’s Conference room where the meeting is usually held.
All members of the Board were available to meet. However, when the uniformed officers persisted in using their bodies to physically block the City Clerk’s access, the meeting was subsequently moved to a different location in City Hall.
Article VII, § 70 of the Mount Vernon City Charter (“Personnel of the Board of Estimate and Contract”) states, “There shall be a Board of Estimate and Contract, which shall consist of the Mayor, the Comptroller, and the President of the City Council. … The City Clerk shall keep a journal of all proceedings thereof, and shall perform such additional duties as may be required by the Board, or by law or ordinance of the City Council.”
“As the City’s commander-in-chief, it is the Mayor’s responsibility to ensure that police officers enforce the law, not obstruct it,” says City Council President Roberta L. Apuzzo. “By Charter, the City Clerk is the clerk of the Board. If the Mayor wants to do an investigation, then do an investigation, but in no way should that hinder the City Clerk from performing his official duties. I became Council President in January of this year, and every month there has been something to hinder the work that we have to do on the Board of Estimate and Contract, due to the obstructionism and mean-spiritedness of the Mayor’s administration,” added Apuzzo.
Despite the disruption, with the Clerk present and a quorum established, the Board of Estimate and Contract convened in City Council chambers and handled the 27-item agenda, thus proceeding with the business of the City.
Despite several calls to the mayor’s office for comment, not returned, Tuesday morning video was removed 35 minutes after the incident with Clerk Brown. Stay tuned to BW for more of this developing story.
The Council and Comptroller have scheduled a town hall meeting, Saturday, April 1st to answer any and al questions the public may have on what’s really going on in City Hall.