Sunday, December 13, 2009


By: Ernie Garcia
Journal News
December 11, 2009

Former Mount Vernon City Council candidate Samuel Rivers filed a lawsuit against the city on Wednesday seeking to block the city from holding a public hearing on the 2010 budget last night.
The public hearing was held, but Rivers is still trying to delay other meetings by the Board of Estimate and Contract, which is the body that held last night’s public hearing.

His lawsuit, filed in the state Supreme Court, seeks court intervention to stop the Board of Estimate and Contract from voting on the 2010 budget. That board’s next meeting is on Dec. 15 at 8:45 in City Hall.

“The public only had two days to know that the budget was available,” Rivers said of a public notice that appeared in The Journal News just days before the hearing. “Two or three days is not enough time to do due dilligence. The problem with Mount Vernon is transparency and the only way you’re going to get transparency is by bringing them to court.”

Mount Vernon Mayor Clinton Young’s chief of staff Yolanda Robinson declined to comment earlier because it’s a legal matter. She said that she would issue a press statement on the matter after the city’s attorneys reviewed it, but as of 4:50pm on Friday none was received.

While it’s up to a court to decide if Rivers has legal standing, the city does trip up on its legal notices about public hearings. Earlier this week Mount Vernon published a legal notice in the Journal News about a Dec. 14 meeting at 6pm in City Hall for a presentation of an application to a state agency for an environmental and land-use study of the city’s southeastern industrial zone.

The city’s public notice stated that the public would have 30 days starting Dec. 10 to review the application. The Journal News went to the Planning Department this morning to review the application and the application was not ready for the public to review—one business day before their public meeting.

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