Mount Vernon, NY (1/4/2023)- The Mount Vernon City Council hosted their Annual Statutory Meeting last night at City Hall in Council Chambers. The meeting began at 7 pm and concluded at 9 pm. There were many people in attendance as the crowd filled the Council Chambers.
At this meeting City Council members: the Honorable Lisa A. Copeland, the Honorable Caitlin Gleason, the Honorable Edward Poteat, and the Honorable Derrick Thompson were reaffirmed as City Council Members. The honorable Danielle R. Browne, Esq was sworn-in as City Council President, making her the fourth black woman in the City of Mount Vernon’s history to serve in that capacity joining: Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Karen Watts Yehudeh, and Lisa A. Copeland. Before becoming City Council President, Danielle Browne was only the seventh black woman ever elected to Mount Vernon’s City Council.
The statutory meeting also featured the City Council announcing the chairs and co-chairs of the standing committees of the City Council for 2023. The chair of the Legislation and Public Work standing committee is Councilwoman Lisa A. Copeland and the co-chair is Councilwoman Caitlin Gleason. The chair of Human Resources standing committee is Councilman Derrick Thompson and the co-chair is Councilman Edward Poteat. The chair of the Public Safety and Codes standing committee is Councilwoman Caitlin Gleason and the co-chair is Councilwoman Lisa A. Copeland. The chair of Finance and Planning standing committee is Councilman Edward Poteat and the co-chair is Councilman Derrick Thompson
Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard said, “We are celebrating our council but tonight we’re here to witness the elevation of our Councilwoman Danielle Browne to City Council President and that’s something we’re really excited about. Danielle accepted an assignment of police reform commission and served honorably. Then She stepped forward for service. Everyone talks about what needs to be done and what should be done but, many people don’t step forward for service. Especially as a young professional because this isn’t a money-making venture. It’s a lot of sacrifice and you put yourself in harm's way to be put in the paper and the media and be questioned. It’s not always a thankful job but it is service to the community and service to the community is about sacrifice. But I know she has a reputation that can withstand any of the challenges because she is a person who operates with great integrity. I’d like to thank her and congratulate her for stepping forward for service. Thank you, Derrick, as you step back down and thank you to our entire council.”
Comptroller Darren Morton said, “Today we come to celebrate the assignment of Councilwoman Danielle Brown as City Council President. To also congratulate and salute Councilman Derrick Thompson for a job well done over the past year. Let me also thank the entire council and the clerk’s office for good work on the legislative work that needed to be done in the city of Mount Vernon. You cannot move forward without the executive leadership of a leader, so I want to thank the mayor. But the council itself as law makers set the tone, they answer directly to the people about the laws and policies being made. While the financial arm of the city tries to make sure we safeguard the money that belongs to the people. To do that we must do it in concert, with justice and righteousness. The office of the comptroller, finance, payroll and benefits looks forward to work with the council under the leadership of Danielle Browne and we want to congratulate her for being steadfast and being a warrior in the work that needs to be done for the people. Congratulations to Danielle Browne, Congratulations to Derrick Thompson for his leadership, Congratulations to the Mayor and all the city’s leadership for the work they’ve been doing.”
County Executive George Latimer said, “I’m very honored to be here tonight, both to thank Derrick Thompson for doing an amazing job and also to see the ascension of Danielle Browne. I love the tradition in Mount Vernon that allows all the members of this body show that they care about this city. This city is diverse, not just by geography but by demography. We try to be good partners to the city. This city has the leadership within in it to lead the city but when you turn for a helping hand in White Plains, we hope to be that helping hand. This is what I got growing up on south 14th avenue, while I don’t live there anymore, I’m there in spirit. And where here tonight to celebrate that spirit in this wonderful City that’s on the rise.”
City Council President Danielle R. Browne,Esq. said, “I want my partners on the federal, state, and county level. I want to thank the Mayor and Comptroller on their continued effort in moving the city forward. I especially want to trust my fellow council members for trusting me with this privilege and believing that I’m capable of getting the job done.
I want say congratulations and thank you to Councilman Thompson because under your leadership City Council was back to getting important work done, eliminating distractions, and began to move in a common direction. You along with the city clerk’s office were instrumental in our transition of new council members. Like any new job there was a learning curve without the clerk’s office and Councilman Thompson we wouldn’t have been able to get it done as quickly as we were able to.
Special thank you to Councilwoman Copeland. Since I was 14 years old as a Ladyknight Councilwoman Copeland offered her mentorship, when I became a councilwoman, she kept the same energy. So, I want to thank you your parliamentarian skills and historical knowledge are unmatched. If you insist on making this your last year as my council teammate, I will do my best to soak as much information and knowledge you have to offer and do my part to make you go out with a bang.
To Councilwoman Gleason and Councilman Poteat, I'm proud of us. On the campaign trail we made few promises but, we promised civility and emotional intelligence and we kept our word. We’ve somehow convinced the community that we don’t disagree because we don’t make a spectacle of our disagreements and I’m proud of that.
It’s only been a year since I was here as a newly minted councilwoman, anxious and nervous as I am today but eager to get the work done. I’m proud of what the City Council accomplished this year bringing Mount Vernon into the 21st century and making all our meetings hybrid meetings, if you want to participate in a meeting you don’t have to walk in City Hall’s doors. We worked with the administration to get the comprehensive planning process started, we identified software and are training our staff right now on a legislative process software that will make the legislative process clearer, more transparent, and allow for more accountability.
We launched a city council newsletter to keep our residents more informed and we changed the way we conduct meetings, so the public has a better understanding of what we’re voting on and debating on, we put our referral packets online on Friday when council members receive them so residents can have more time to digest the information and possibly come to a council meeting to speak for or against legislation. We showed that Mount Vernon is a diverse and inclusive community by recognizing June as pride month.
I promise to uphold my duties with integrity and respect. Being a public servant isn’t easy and it comes with sacrifices missed birthdays, date nights, quality time with loved ones, but I'm super thankful for my support system. Especially my friends and family who hear an earful when I'm frustrated with the culture speed and efficiency of government. A special thank you to my mother. She’s always my biggest supporter and ready to step in and be superwoman. She stepped in when the caterer canceled for tonight, and I caught a flat this morning and guess who came to the rescue? So, mom, thank you.
Thank you all again for the great privilege of serving you. I will do my best this year, If I don’t I’m sure you’ll let me know.”
Congratulations to all City Council members for being reaffirmed. Thank you again, Councilman Thompson for a successful tenure as Council President. Congratulations and good luck City Council President Browne, the city of Mount Vernon is rooting you on and eager to see the great work you will do.