City Council stirs up controversy as it prepares to pick next president

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MOUNT VERNON -

Mount Vernon City Hall seems to be creating more controversy as it gets ready to pick the next City Council president.

In recent years, the council presidency went to the next member in line. This year, it looks like it will be different, which would leave the current council pro tem Andre Wallace blocked from the top slot.

In order to be City Council president, one needs at least two other council members supporting them, and Wallace doesn't have them.

“This is not about who you like, this is not about friendship. It’s not about any of those things. It’s about what is right and what is wrong,” says Wallace.

The current council president says she won't vote for Wallace, and another councilwoman isn't voting at all. A third says she hasn't made up her mind, although it seems clear Wallace doesn't have her support.

It’s not clear at this point if anyone has majority support to win the position. The chairman of the city's Democratic Party insists the council needs to follow the established process.

“The council has always maintained a certain standard of dignity and fairness with each other. They've done that in the past not to look dysfunctional, so I think this council is making a serious mistake,” says Reginald Lafayette.

The vote for council president doesn't take place until Jan. 2.

If a council person doesn't get a majority, current City Council President Lisa Copeland will keep the job for another year.

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