Councilwoman reproaches Standish on leaking name

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 17, 2002

Visibly emotional as her voice blatantly quivered, Suffolk Councilwoman Linda Johnson chided City Manager Myles E. Standish during last night’s council meeting for allegedly leaking her name to press for owing taxes.

Johnson’s anger, in part, hinged on a presentation by City Treasurer Ronald H. Williams at the last meeting regarding the possibility of publicizing a listing of citizens who have not satisfied their tax bills. At this time, Williams noted that the list was not accurate.

With full knowledge of this, Johnson blames Standish for offering local media a complete listing of the offenders, which included her name. Johnson had recently added on to her house, delaying a revised assessment of the property to generate an updated tax bill.

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Because of the improvements, Johnson’s bill is not due until December, as opposed to an outstanding bill since June because the addition was not completed until after the city’s first billing cycle.

Johnson stated at the end of the council meeting that the public release of her name has been a source of &uot;personal heartburn,&uot; which led her to request that the mayor call a special meeting last week. However, &uot;The mayor did not want bad press,&uot; said Johnson, also alluding to a lack of support from council on the matter.

&uot;I am disappointed that no one seems to agree with me,&uot; said Johnson. &uot;I pay my taxes…This is a poor management practice.&uot; Directly addressing the city manager, Johnson asked &uot;that you deal with the truth when it comes to me.&uot;

Johnson also said she believes that Standish distributed the list &uot;for his purpose…I take offense to that.&uot;

In a recent interview the News-Herald, Williams explained that several factors could contribute to a citizen’s name erroneously showing up on the hit list.

Instances like Johnson’s home expansion project are one example. In a nutshell, the councilwoman’s name should not have been included in the records, said Williams.

Confusion between homeowners and mortgage companies, which are responsible for paying the taxes in some cases, have also caused residents to mistakenly end up on the list.