Political spotlight on: Maureen Walker, candidate for Mount Vernon mayor

CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 8/3/2011, 2:42 p.m.

Walker said, "I think it's very disrespectful to the people of the city who work hard and pay taxes. I think it's a slap in their faces. He could have found a job for his sister elsewhere. I have family, and there is no way I'd put them in city government to work. It's not something the people in the city are proud of."

She added that she has received complaints from people that Young is virtually inaccessible and not returning any phone calls. She's has even had to take on issues her office doesn't normally deal with. As comptroller, Walker said she has an open door policy and wants to try and continue the practice if elected mayor.

Unlike her fellow elected officials, Walker refuses to take a city car and reimburses the city triple and double for any personal calls she makes on her city-issued cellular phone.

Calling herself a "public servant" rather than an elected official, Walker said that even though she has the admiration and support of her constituents, she plans to work hard to get votes.

"I have to work very hard in every single election," she said. "I am cautiously optimistic. I knock on doors, hit the streets and put up lawn signs myself. I think the people of the city see in me somebody who is honest. Running for mayor is not about me."

Voters in Mount Vernon will head to the polls to elect their next mayor on Sept. 15.