Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas says the City Council is preventing the city from hiring more police officers.
This happens as the mayor — who is often at odds with the council — says the department is facing a shortage.
"We need bodies," Thomas says. "There's no excuse for cutting 20 positions in the police department."
Roberta Apuzzo, the president of the City Council, says there are already enough officers and funds.
She wants Thomas to fill eight vacancies that city lawmakers have already funded before trying to fill more.
Thomas says the city can't afford to wait, but he has little power to force the council's hand.
"You can't have everything all the time, but you can have some things some of the time," Apuzzo says.
The city did swear in 12 new firefighter recruits Friday.