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City Hall’s Infighting and Firefighting Hurts Us All

I am Derickson Lawrence and I am running for Comptroller of the City of Mount Vernon, New York.

The first two months of 2021 have been filled with embarrassing and continuous drama at City Hall. We had the late budget crisis. We had the legitimate DPW “I didn’t get my overtime pay” crisis. We had the smelly sewer crisis. We had “the shouting matches, then ‘muted’-civil dialogue” crisis, – which may become the new standard for deliberations at the Board of Estimates and Control meetings. Now we have the boiler crisis.

A Boiler System Under Water has the Optics of the “Titanic!”

We need “all hands-on-deck” at City Hall!

Now, all of these have one common thread: our city finances. It is the root of the infighting and firefighting. But that is why we need “all hands on deck” at City Hall.

I made the claim recently to one of my neighbors that the debacle that has overtaken City Hall does not represent who we are. He quickly shot back: “that’s exactly who we are!”.

I paused for a moment and thought of it. I came to the same conclusion. He was right. That’s how low we have sunk in the eyes of many.

Cathy Seibel, a federal judge, remarked she felt “like a kindergarten teacher” as she attempted to resolve the disputes among the warring factions of Mount Vernon City Hall. On March 2, 2021, she ordered Comptroller Reynolds to provide the equivalent of kindergarten steps: weekly reports to the public works department detailing the balances on their budget lines and what vouchers have been paid.

It’s time we have a steady hand to deal with both the tactical and strategic aspects of the comptroller’s office, rather than the infighting drama and firefighting of the past several months; some would say much longer.

I am making an appeal to all Mount Vernon residents to get involve and fight to save our city. This is what the upcoming election is about. Don’t fall for the musical chair-style politics that will deliver the same results. The finger pointing and scapegoating are just smoke screens where no one takes responsibility. Residents are tired. They are frustrated. They are saddened.

Look, despite strong opposition, and with a steady hand, I assembled and led a group of independent residents (the Charter Revision Commission) who crafted four propositions that were placed on the ballot last November. I served as the chair of that commission. Two of those propositions were fiscal accountability and financial transparency. 95 % of you - the residents of mount Vernon - voted in November, to pass those propositions. This is the caliber of leadership I represent - a steady hand. This is the contrast you will see if I am elected the next comptroller. Go to for Why Derickson (my experience) and read my four-point plan to reinstate our Moody’s rating. Reinstatement of the ratings will provide the ability to borrow to fix our crumbling sewers, replace aging DWP trucks, and we may have to replace the entire boiler system. Today we can’t do that because we have no rating. There are no quick fixes, so don’t fall for that.

Voting for the same musical chairs- style candidates will only bring more kindergarten results. Share this message with your neighbors, because I can’t do it alone. I need your support.

Submitted by

Derickson K. Lawrence


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