Mt. Vernon mayor hires fire recruits despite council warning
Mount Vernon's new mayor says he wants to hire new firefighters, but city leaders say there is not enough money to pay them.
This year's budget passed by the City Council only has money set aside to pay six new firefighters. In a controversial move, Mayor Richard Thomas circumvented the council and hired 11 new recruits.
City Comptroller Maureen Walker and members of the council say the mayor does not have the authority to hire five new firefighters at a cost of about $300,000.
She says as a councilman, Thomas should have pushed harder for more firefighters when the 2016 budget was being created, but now it's too late.
Mayor Thomas told News 12 that he voted against the 2016 budget based on its cuts to public safety.