State audit: Mount Vernon lacks financial transparency, hurting city’s credit rating
A war of words is happening in Mount Vernon after a state audit reports that the city is lacking financial transparency.
Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard says she and the City Council requested the review to improve the flow of information coming from the city Comptroller's Office.
"It is hard to make decisions around expenditures and savings and revenues when you have no information," Patterson-Howard said on Saturday.
According to the state audit, the lack of information is hurting the city's credit rating.
"The recommendations from the report is that the City Council should institute additional ordinances to finally define the comptroller's responsibility to provide reporting, interim reporting financials, to transfer monies as required. Basically, to do the basic functions of her job," Patterson-Howard said about Comptroller Deborah Reynolds.
Patterson-Howard said Reynolds’ refusal to pay bills and work with the Council and other officials is financially crippling the city. Reynolds said the mayor has to do her job first before she can do hers.
"And I have continuously tried as comptroller, such as the former comptroller, Maureen Walker, to get them to disclose the financials and they still haven't," Reynolds said. "The mayor and City Council stop blaming the comptroller for everything that they fail to do."
"I'm more than happy to work with the comptroller, but she has to have the political will do so," Patterson-Howard said.
Patterson-Howard added that the state will be a doing a site visit later this month.