MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon newly-elected Mayor, Richard Thomas has made his latest appointment to his administration Thursday. In a press release, Thomas announced, the appointment of Shawyn Patterson Howard to serve as Commissioner of Planning and Community Development and Executive Director of the Mount Vernon Urban Renewal Agency. The Mount Vernon Urban Renewal Agency is under threat of an immediate shutdown by New York State and the federal government. Patterson Howard replaces former Planning Commissioner Jamie Martinez, who served in the position for five and a half years.
“I am thrilled and honored to return home to serve my beloved Mount Vernon,” Commissioner Shawyn Patterson Howard said. “I look forward to engaging with all people and partners throughout our community to grow our local economy into a global player. Together, we will seize the unprecedented opportunities for economic and social redevelopment.”
The statement goes on to say, Commissioner Patterson Howard is known for her ability to turn around failing institutions. She has over twenty years of experience in government including spearheading community programs, project management, economic development, grants procurement, and relationship building. She has led successful efforts for community redevelopment, re-zoning, and urban design which revitalized the downtown Yonkers Waterfront. More importantly, she has transformed institutions from struggling organizations into economic and community powerhouses. Commissioner Patterson Howard previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Yonkers Family YMCA; Executive Director of the Mount Vernon YMCA; and developed and directed the Mount Vernon Drug Treatment Court. She started her career in Mount Vernon serving as HOPWA Director in the Planning and Community Development Department that she now comes to lead.
“Shawyn Patterson Howard is widely known and revered throughout the region as a change agent,” shares Mayor Thomas. “We are grateful she is coming home to implement economic growth plans while reinvigorating our Urban Renewal Agency. She will bring greater coordination between private development and public boards to ensure projects move forward in a timely and responsible manner. Her appointment reaffirms our pledge for competency in City Hall. Her skills in coalition-building and proven abilities to right the future are unmatched. Her expertise in mobilizing resources and motivating both staff and public stakeholders to execute on one vision makes her an excellent leader for the Planning Department. We are honored and privileged that she has decided to join our new leadership team.”
With all the controversy surrounding commissioners and other Mayor Thomas appointees not fulfilling the residency requirements, Shawyn Patterson Howard is a qualified candidate from the community and an example of the professional talent pool available from Mount Vernon.