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Mount Vernon Council Looks For Fresh Start In 2013

The Mount Vernon City Council will meet with new Council President J. Yuhanna Edwards for the first time Wednesday night.
The Mount Vernon City Council will meet with new Council President J. Yuhanna Edwards for the first time Wednesday night. Photo Credit: Greg Maker

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. -- The Mount Vernon City Council is looking to set a more positive tone for the start of 2013 after heated debates, mostly pertaining to the budget, last year.

J. Yuhanna Edwards takes over as Council President from Roberta Apuzzo, who remains on the City Council. With Wednesday's 7 p.m. meeting the first under Edwards’ leadership, the newly elected Council President said that he and his colleagues need suggestions going forward from the public.

“Many people come here wanting to beat other people up and have a gang mentality,” Edwards said. “That showed at a public hearing on the budget. I’ll respect you if you respect me. I’ll work with the council to keep up the momentum we had from last year.”

Apuzzo said Edwards is a strong leader who weighs the different sides of an argument instead of “drinking the Kool-Aid.” Council member Richard Thomas said there has been a deficiency in public input last year and would like more of it. Thomas, who along with Edwards held a “Speak Out” event last year, which let Mount Vernon residents bring their concerns to elected officials in a public forum, wants the event to continue in the new year.

“We need to continue these open, public dialogues about how to affect reforms,” Thomas said. “It’s important that we put in the work together and make ourselves open and available.”

Resident William Ewell said that each member of the City Council needs to present themselves in a way that residents expect. Though dialogue will get heated from time to time, Ewell said being mindful of respect is important.

“You have to present yourselves to people as people who represent others,” Ewell said.

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