vetting – make a careful and critical examination of (something or someone)
In keeping with his commitment to public safety, Mayor-Elect Richard Thomas announced the first appointment to his administration – Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Robert “Bob” Kelly, the announcement states.
As the announcement spread through Mount Vernon, BW received several calls inquiring about the appointment, with a few even asking ‘What Is A Deputy Mayor?’ or ‘What Does A Deputy Mayor Do?’
Deputy Mayor by definition is an elective or appointive office of the second-ranking official in many local governments. (in other words, when the Mayor is out-of-town, this person would run the city. In Mt. Vernon according to the charter the Council President has that duty.)
After careful examination of the City Charter, BW could not find the position Deputy Mayor listed anywhere. However we did find the position, Commissioner of Public Safety listed. According to the charter, commissioners are appointed officers by the mayor who serve at his pleasure.
So we contacted Council President Marcus Griffith (who has the duty to run the city when the Mayor is out-of-town) to ask about the appointment of a Deputy Mayor or the creation of a position that does not officially exist in the City Charter. Griffith informed BW that the Mayor does not have the power to create a position that does not exist in the charter by himself. He would need the support of the City Council. “That would be the duty of the City Council,” Griffith informs.
Thomas informs, “The Deputy Mayor for Public Safety will be in charge of the Fire Department, the Police Department and Emergency Services, consolidating functions and integrating essential services.”
Griffith did however say, the consolidation of the three commissioner positions is a good idea, but as a commissioner not as a deputy mayor.
Instead of spending on too much time debating the Deputy Mayor position any longer, in an effort of moving forward, BW will refer to Kelly’s appointment as Commissioner of Public Safety, until we get further clarification.
So who is Robert ‘Bob’ Kelly, while there was very little online for me to go on, except the fact he has had a few lawsuits against the city of Mount Vernon, I refer to his brief bio in the press release:
Kelly was born and raised in Mount Vernon. He attended Mount Vernon public schools and began his career in the Mount Vernon Police Department where he rose to the rank of Captain commanding the entire Detective Division. He was recruited to work for Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore, who tapped him to develop the Westchester Intelligence Center.
The Westchester Intelligence Center is an analytical system which operates as a resource for all 43 police departments in Westchester County. Kelly designed and implemented this ground-breaking center to facilitate information sharing among County police departments. This allowing for a better sharing of resources and keeps police officers on the street and in their communities.
Several current and former MVPD officers have had a lot to say about the appointment, and their experience with Kelly in both the MVPD and the District Attorney’s office. All have not agreed to speak on the record, about Kelly, due to possibly having to answer to Kelly after the appointment. We will be speaking to everyone involved, including Kelly himself and share all we find to allow you, the public to make up your own mind.
Now that Commissioner Raynor will be moving on in January, the selection of Kelly means there will be blacks in Commissioner positions throughout Westchester County. While color in not the most important quality in choice for police commissioner, the lack of color in Westchester should be a major concern, especially in largely populated Black areas like Mount Vernon. Moving forward there are no black police commissioner in Westchester and once again, no outrage from black leadership.
Mayor-Elect Richard Thomas was currently out-of-town, on a brief break before taken office at the time of posting this article and we decided not to disturb anyone else on Christmas Eve, so we will pick this back up after the holiday and will keep you informed on this developing investigation of this appointment.
If you have any questions or information on Kelly email us at BlackWestchester@gmail.com. Leave any comments or questions, share whether you are for or against the appointment and why in the comment section below.