Mount Vernon turns to black market amid PPE shortage
Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard confirmed today that she turned to the black market to purchase personal protective equipment for city employees.
Patterson-Howard tells News 12, "We had to go down to Chinatown, we had to go over to New Jersey, and we had to find ways to source PPE."
She also says she used money from her own inaugural fund to protect the city’s essential workers and first responders, and says she’d do it again if needed.
Some people believe the mayor's actions were illegal, but New York’s 'necessity defense' may support her actions.
"It has to be a true emergency. The person claiming the privilege of necessity has to have first tried to do it legally and been unable to do it, the harm that's being sought to avoid must be greater than the harm caused by the criminal violation,” says Pace University professor David Dorfman.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer confirmed the need for PPE is profound, saying in part, "There's constantly use of these products so quickly that the demand never ends."
Surprisingly, the county’s most affected city, Yonkers, has yet to go as far as Mount Vernon.
"Everyone's doing what they can to get what they need for their community but we haven't had to go that far,” confirms Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano.
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