MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – During his 20-year career, Mount Vernon city council candidate Marcus Griffith has consulted for Fortune 50 companies that include Verizon, CBS and AIG.
The former councilman and current vice chair of the Mount Vernon Planning Board has touted his financial and political experience during his city council campaign. Five years after his initial appointment, he has decided to run for one of three vacant council seats to help restore the city to its former glory.
“I have two pieces of specialty that the city needs right now. I’m a finance guy by trade and I deal with a lot of financial systems,” Griffith said. “I’ve been on the Westchester County and Mount Vernon Planning Boards for 15 years. That’s not a trade I went to school for, but when you combine the finance and planning experience, you have a strong person that understands what the city needs.”
Griffith was a unanimous appointment to the city council in 2008 when he was voted in to fill a vacant seat. In 2009, he unsuccessfully ran for city comptroller, but continued to serve the community as a part of the Mount Vernon NAACP, Youth Community Outreach Program, Mount Vernon Day Care Center and All Island Association.
He said it is important to educate the public about the function of the city council, and the limitations on its power.
“We need to educate the people on how government works. We need to have more education forums to inform the community about the function of its government,” he said. “We need to explain that government is slow and changes are supposed to be slow. Sometimes you have to bring them into the governmental world and warm them up so they understand where you’re coming from.”
Griffith said his experience on multiple levels of local and county government is what gives him an edge over some of the other candidates, who he added “don’t understand what the city council can and cannot do,” when making campaign promises, specifically proposing to fix the school district, which is independent.
“In this election, we have some good candidates and some really bad candidates. We have candidates outright lying to the community because they are uncertain how government works,” he said. “I really don’t have time to sit with people and teach them what their job is. I need people on the council that will sit down with me and get to work immediately.”
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