Clyde Isley: 'They want the old guy in the room'

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At 78 years old, Clyde Isley is gearing up for the third act of his professional career as he seeks the Democratic nomination for Mount Vernon mayor.

News 12's Ty Milburn is on the campaign trail with Isley as he reintroduced himself to voters and lays out his plans "to fix" the city.

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Isley's resume is long and decorated. He's a former NYPD detective sergeant and, in the 1990s, he served as Mount Vernon police commissioner. He has also served time as the county's deputy commissioner of corrections and as the former chief financial officer at Hostos Community College in the Bronx.

While he's never held elected office before, Isley insists being mayor is a job he was born to do. “I believe being someone who doesn't have a long track record, in the political arena, can make better decisions that are going to benefit the city in the long run.”

Stamina is not an issue for the near octogenarian. But his age has become an issue in the race and the mudslinging started right after he shocked political establishment by winning the Democratic party endorsement in February.  Isley says his age is an advantage. “They want the old guy in the room (laughs). I think the situation at the federal level and at the local level requires someone with extensive experience to take over the leadership role because apparently when you see the situation in the city of Mount Vernon now, it’s a direct result of what I believe to be inexperience leadership.”

Isley says his top two priorities would be what he calls restoring normalcy to city hall and fixing the city's finances. “We have three years of unaudited financials which led to us losing our bond rating. Secondly, we have a dysfunctional city council, comptroller's office and the mayor's office. I believe that because of my professional demeanor, I can create a collegial environment between those three branches and therefore move the business of the city forward.”

Chaos is what brought Isley out of retirement and into the race for mayor. He says he couldn't simply watch the dysfunction at city hall and not do anything about it. “I don't see the city progressing. I see it digressing. When you see our streets and sidewalks and when you see how the city is being administered by our present mayor, those are things that don't just concern me, but a large segment of our community. I think they are looking for mature leadership, experienced leadership, a leader who has a high level of integrity and expertise. I see myself as that person.”

Isley not only wants to unify, he wants the city to shine. “I think it’s a tarnished gem, and all we need to do is take a wire brush, and just dust it off. If we clean ourselves up when we present ourselves, in a manner we should, it’s going to be a very nice place to live.”

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