‘I’m still the mayor’: Thomas defiant in the face of council ouster

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MOUNT VERNON -

“The bottom line is I'm still the mayor."

Richard Thomas insisted that he was still in charge of the city of Mount Vernon during a Friday afternoon statement he made from City Hall. He took no questions about the ongoing crisis of power looming over the city.

“I'm going to back to work, doing the business,” he said.

It comes two days after the City Council made the unprecedented move of halting his pay and swearing in the City Council President Andre Wallace as the new acting mayor. The council said when the mayor pleaded guilty to two campaign finance related charges on Monday, he violated the city's charter.


"The council last night didn't remove the mayor,” said Wallace on Thursday. “The mayor removed himself when he pleaded to two misdemeanors in court. So that is how the mayor, according to the charter, had vacated his position."

At City Hall Friday, it was still an open question as to who is in charge.

RELATED: Crisis at City Hall: Mount Vernon mayor a 'no show' 1 day after being ousted | Mount Vernon deals with political aftershocks of mayor’s plea deal

The city's legal department said the council doesn't have the right to remove the mayor. The city clerk and comptroller said they will not recognize his authority.

“The continued antics by the City Council is just that – irresponsible antics and distractions,” said Thomas.

The City Council met behind closed doors Friday night to discuss its next options, but the dispute is likely to be settled in court. When the council emerged from the meeting, no one revealed what was discussed.

Shawn Patterson Howard, the Democratic mayoral nominee, says the confusion over who is running the city is hurting everyone.

“I am saddened by the back and forth. This community is being torn apart and there are more questions than answers,” he said.

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