By now everyone has heard about the much publicized Board of Estimate and Contract meeting, Tuesday morning, where 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. City Council President Roberta L. Apuzzo accused Mayor Thomas of obstructionism and mean-spiritedness and hindering 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 several calls to the mayor’s office for comment, not returned, Tuesday morning video was removed 35 minutes after the incident with Clerk Brown. After we published the story, Mayor Thomas did send a statement. Wednesday, Maria Donavon hit me via email with a statement from the mayor. Ms. Donavon stated she sent the statement shortly after we requested it and she was resending it. Below read the Mayor’s statement in its entirety.
The acting City Clerk George Brown has consistently created a hostile work environment. Brown’s erratic and violent behavior, particularly towards women, in City Hall, is well-documented and resulted in his suspension from entering the Mayor’s offices. The current ban was determined necessary by the Human Resources Department, which is conducting an investigation into Clerk Brown’s conduct at the February 14, 2017, Board of Estimate and Contract meeting. At this meeting, Brown lost his composure and began verbally assaulting the mayor and female staff members as well taking other menacing actions. (click here to watch the video).
This matter is being taken seriously and we urge the City Council to hold their employee accountable and comply with the ongoing investigation. The position of City Clerk is appointed by the City Council and, to date, the Council has yet to confirm his appointment or discipline him accordingly for his past misconduct. Over the past few weeks, the Deputy City Clerk facilitated Board of Estimate meetings without any issue or drama. We recommend the Deputy City Clerk continue to stand in until the investigation into George Brown is completed.
Every employee is entitled to a safe and productive work environment especially in City Hall.
Last-minute relocation: The City Council and Comptroller’s office simply refuse to work with the Thomas Administration. The City Council’s appointee threatened and verbally attacked the Mayor of the City of Mount Vernon as well as female staff members. As a result, he has been suspended from entering the Mayor’s office until an investigation into the matter is completed. The level of disrespect and disregard for the Office of Mayor is a sad reflection on local government gridlock.
In 2015, the people decided that they wanted a new vision and new direction for the City of Mount Vernon. The City Council and Comptroller should rise about sore feelings and get on board with Mount Vernon’s future. Continuing to condone the misconduct of acting Clerk George Brown is deeply concerning.
The unilateral action to relocate and attempt to call a Board of Estimate meeting to order is illegal. As per the Charter, only the Mayor can call the meeting to order which is held in the Mayor’s conference room. Any actions taken by the Board of Estimate without the Mayor will be challenged.
Now you have read what both sides had to say about the incident and as usual, it leads to more questions than answers. But we have brought both sides and leave it up to you as to who you should believe. Unfortunately, it usually does very little to get those to see the truth and many have already chosen a side, but we will continue to bring you all the information available. Stay tuned to more of this developing story… the drama continues!
AJ is a Father, Author, Writer, 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, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
You can also hear AJ every Thursday morning at 7:20 A.M. on Good Morning Westchester with host Bob Marrone on WVOX