Mount Vernon mayor reveals why he fired police commissionerPosted: Updated:
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas has revealed to News 12 why he recently fired his police commissioner.
Thomas finally sounded off on his former police commissioner, telling News 12 his reason for why Shawn Harris is off the job after just 14 months. The mayor claims that back in November, Harris went against his wishes and insisted on relinquishing city control of the Mount Vernon non-fatal shooting task force to another law enforcement agency.
"Signing those operations over to other law enforcement agencies was a non-starter, and that's a visionary difference that he and I had," he says.
Sources tell News 12 that agency was Westchester County police, and that preliminary discussions about a takeover fell through once Mount Vernon said it didn't want to participate.
"He tried to get rid of that system and give it to somebody else,” says Thomas.
The now-former police commissioner was fired last week in what he claimed was a retaliatory move once he penned a letter to the corporation counsel claiming a former associate of the mayor, Joe Spiezio, hadn't returned his city-owned vehicle or identification more than a month after he was fired for driving with a suspended license.
Thomas insists none of what was in that letter was true.
“Everything's been back. Everything's been handled. And this is where again I'm surprised by the sudden disgruntledness, but this is what it is,” says Thomas.
Thomas still calls Shawn Harris a longtime family friend, but when News 12 asked if Harris wanted to comment, he said "he wasn't entertaining this latest accusation."
News 12 also reached out to the county, but it declined to comment.