Political foundation of yonkers
Yonkers has an unorthodox system of governance in place. This system of politics and governance brought the city to gridlock for decades during the 1985 desegregation federal lawsuit. The mayor, an executive official, is a member of the council, the city's legislative body. The city manager, the highest executive official, is appointed by the same legislative body. The city acts through the city council when it comes to the enactment of legislation laws. Therefore, Yonkers’ government allows the council to exercise both legislative and executive powers. Unfortunately, this is exactly where the problems stemmed from; as the executive and the legislative branches are systemically combined theyleave no room for debates or progress during the desegregation case. Efforts to desegregate housing and public schools in Yonkers did not fail because of political controversy within a divided community, but rather because of high levels of oppositions from politicians from both represented political parties’ desire to save their own careers as well as their city.
Why was Yonkers selected as the city to be exposed to the whole nation? Fernon asks, “[w]ere the racial patterns here really so unique that they compelled the Justice Department to select Yonkers for its first suit linking discrimination in education and housing?” Many members of its minority community filed complaints with Federal agencies. The links between segregation in housing and education were also ''powerful and dynamic.” But most importantly, there was a clear record of elected officials having repeatedly rejected proposals to integrate as well as these politicians exhibiting poor leadership. Yonkers developed its own system of political patronage, which is closely linked to residential life and interpersonal ties in the city. Leaders, who have resided in the community since the late 1920s, represent an aging cohort of extremely active residents. Old-timers expressed concern over the aging of its organizational base. One woman, a former district leader, explained why she got involved:
Many of the early Nepperhans attended school with whites whose families became important players in local government and city administration. Nepperhans were involved in local government and politics because residents believed that active participation was a critical factor in community preservation. Early on, they formed the Nepperhan Republican Club and the Runyon Heights Democratic Club. These ties proved useful in navigating the bureaucracy at City Hall. Haynes states, “[a]n early characteristic of Nepperhan voting was that residents were issue-driven and tended to cross traditional party lines in casting their ballots. Locally, such independence gave them leverage in closely contended mayoral races. Successful involvement in local politics meant more than voting, though; it meant getting involved in ward and club activities”.
 Amy Walsh, "The Yonkers Case: Separation of Powers as a Yardstick for Determining Ofﬁcial Immunity,"Fordham Law Journal, 17, no. 2 (1989): 217-54
 James Fernon. "Why Yonkers? Long Path to an Integration Order." New York Times, January 19, 1988.
 Ibid, 1.
 Bruce Haynes, Red Lines, Black Spaces, (Yale University Press, 2011), 133
 Ibid, 83.
 Ibid, 131.