The Mount Vernon Forward team for City Council - Danielle Browne, Cathlin Gleason and Ed Poteat - has issued the following statement on the city’s financial crisis and the creation of Financial Control Board legislation.
Over the last week, we have seen all too clearly why a unified City Council is so vital to the future of Mount Vernon. We need actual citizen legislators on our Council - a team of diverse and experienced residents committed to writing legislation that benefits our city and deals with this financial crisis. The days of political posturing, endless factions and daily infighting in City Hall must end.
Most of all, members of the City Council must actually show up for work! They must commit to transparency and openness - to conducting the business of the people in the presence of the people, not in the backrooms of the political bosses.
With respect to the issue at hand, Mount Vernon Forward supports the creation of legislation empowering the creation of a Financial Control Board by the State. We deeply appreciate the leadership of our State Legislators in being willing to bring this issue to Albany. And we support the Mayor’s goal of immediately placing the city’s broken finances - thanks to the Comptroller’s intransigence - temporarily under the review of a State panel.
To be clear, if a majority coalition led by Browne, Gleason and Poteat held the gavel in City Hall, we would also amend the legislation to include these provisions:
The FCB’s role should be time-limited and created in consultation with elected city officials; when the city’s bond rating is restored, the agreement should stipulate a full return to Mount Vernon control.
The Financial Control Board should be comprised of four members from Mt. Vernon, one member from the County, and four members from the State; the term of service should be two years instead of three years.
The criteria for the FCB rejecting a year’s financial plan from the City should be better defined. For example, if the City based its revenue projections and expense projections on a CPI increase from the last year's actual receipts, then the FCB should have no grounds for rejecting a financial plan from the City.
All contracts or capital improvements paid for by bond proceeds should have robust MWBE (minority and women owned businesses) and strong local representation.
The City should retain the power to negotiate collective bargaining agreements with labor.
Public housing, the school system, and our independent library should be explicitly exempted from the legislation.
This is what actual legislative leadership looks like - coming together to craft legislation that moves our City forward. We call on the current City Council leadership to follow our lead. And we promise that - if elected - the Mount Vernon Forward slate will always work collaboratively to put the citizens of our city first, and the political bosses last.