Disagreement over Memorial Field proposal brings dysfunction between Mount Vernon officials

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Mount Vernon has hoped to turn the page with new leadership, but dysfunction reared its head again Tuesday as city officials planned on discussing Memorial Field.

The only thing on the agenda was to approve a $2.2 million proposal to clean up Memorial Field before construction on the new ball field can begin. Acting Mayor Andre Wallace and Comptroller Deborah Reynolds supported it, even touting that new bid was $1.6 million lower than the original proposal.

But acting City Council President Janice Duarte had a number of questions about the reduction of costs that she wanted addressed before the vote – namely, why had the price dropped so drastically, and why City Council wasn't notified.

While Duarte never got the answers she wanted, News 12 questioned the Department of Public Works commissioner, who says they negotiated with the vendor and worked on their mobilization costs.

In the end, Wallace and Reynolds voted the proposal through and Duarte abstained. Outside the meeting, she says she regretted the way things went.

"Is this dysfunction at City Hall over and done with? I hope so," says Duarte. "What happened this morning was concerning and it's reminiscent of what we've experienced for the last 3 ½ years."

Once the cleanup is completed, the county will begin constructing a new ball field. No definitive date has been set for when the project will be completed.


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