MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - Having ousted former Public Safety Commissioner Robert Kelly over the weekend, Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas has tapped a star-studded team to seek his replacement.
With Kelly’s termination becoming effective at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Thomas has appointed acting Public Safety Commissioner Ronald Fatigate, City Councilman Yuhanna Edwards - the chair of the council’s Public Safety and Codes Committee - Minister Arthur Muhammad, Rev. Gwen Wilson and Bruce Jackson to “aggressively work to recruit a replacement in the near future.”
Kelly’s firing came as part of Thomas’ “90-day systems check” made by his entire administration in an effort to improve operations citywide.
“There is one direction, forward. All visionary work to increase safety and strengthen the relationship between the police and public will continue,” Thomas said. “We are proud of the work we are able to get done, and understand that more work remains. The people elected me to drive responsible reforms and culture change in City Hall. This is mission critical, particularly at the Police Department.”
In a statement, the Mount Vernon Police Benevolent Association offered their full support of Thomas’ vision.
“On behalf of the Mount Vernon Police Benevolent Association, we extend our full support to the Thomas administration in their decision to move the department toward President Obama’s 21st century policing model, where compassion for people is paramount,” Brent Gamble, president of the Mount Vernon Police Benevolent Association, said.
Fatigate, a former Public Safety Commissioner who will serve as Kelly’s interim replacement, said that this is the latest example of Thomas trying to clean up Mount Vernon.
“Having many conversations with Mayor Thomas, I agree with his decision to make changes in the Police Department,” he said. “It is incumbent that people in these type leadership roles be able to connect with the community and embrace the vision of the administration. In an effort to make Mount Vernon safer, I look forward to working with the committee to recruit new and dynamic leadership for the Mount Vernon Police Department.”