Once again Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas says one thing and does another. He tells the press he is doing everything to create a working environment with the City Council and here we go again, the mayor has a press conference to announce his campaign on Crime and Grime and to promote four Firefighters to Lieutenant, without including the City Council to stand with him. Without even telling them he is having a press conference and promotion.
Councilwoman Roberta Apuzzo reached out to Black Westchester once again to publicly let her frustrations be known, because once again Mayor Thomas has created the illusion that the City Council are not with him, when he has major press conferences and promotions and everyone is visibly there but the Council.
So why is Councilwoman Apuzzo upset, because Mayor Thomas met with her and Councilwoman Lisa A. Copeland and promised he wouldn’t have a major press conference or promotion without inviting the City Council, after her frustration with him for not telling the Council about the National Day of Prayer until less than a half hour before it began.
“He promised at Dunkin Donuts that he would never ever let it happen again,” Councilwoman Apuzzo tells BW, “about missing a promotion or a press conference. He took me and Lisa aside and said ‘I will never let it happen again.’ I am going to keep after this because this is too disingenuous. You told me you would never let it happen again and here you go promoting four firefighters to Lieutenant and we don’t know anything about it.”
I happened to be speaking to Planning Commissioner & Chief of Staff Shawyn Patterson-Howard a few hours later on the phone, because she told me the press conference was at City Hall in the Mayor’s Conference Room. When I found out there was no press conference in City Hall, while on my way, I turned around and went home. When I talked to her later she admitted it was her mistake and I took the opportunity to also speak on Councilwoman Apuzzo’s claim that the council wasn’t informed.
Patterson-Howard informed me that the entire Council was informed about the press conference during the morning meeting they had with the mayor in the Mayor’s Conference Room. Shortly thereafter in the evening, the Council attended the Dinner at the Steam House Restaurant and Lounge honoring Councilman André Wallace. I had a chance to talk with them and mentioned what Patterson-Howard told me on the phone a few hours earlier and they all without hesitation told me it wasn’t true. [Editor’s note: I spoke to four of the five Council members, even though Councilwoman Copeland was present I never got a chance to ask her so I do not know if she was informed about the press conference or not, but Council Members Griffith, Edwards, Wallace and Apuzzo all said they were not told and it was not mentioned at the morning meeting.]
Councilwoman Apuzzo ended our conversation by recalling the morning meeting.
“We had a meeting with him this morning, the entire council,” Councilwoman Apuzzo continues, “every council member had a meeting with him this morning at 8 o’clock and you mean to tell me all of sudden, after the meeting he knew? He never mentioned anything about having a press conference. You want to give him the benefit of the doubt, and try to move forward and work together for the betterment of the city, but it is very hard to work with someone you can not trust. Thomas’ promises, how can we trust you if you can’t keep your word. The reason I am making such a big deal about this, is because he keeps telling the press and the public how we are obstructionists and how we will not work with him. We try to move past that and here we are at the same place again. Sometimes when people do not work with you, it is not always the peoples’ fault, that’s all I’m saying.”