Time for citizens of Suffolk to demand accountability

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 3, 2006

I am writing to express grave concern regarding the current state of our Suffolk City Council. It seems that some members of council have forgotten that their duty is to the citizens of Suffolk, who elected them to office. To the extent that their views clash with that of other city officials, the city manager for instance, their strict allegiance should be to the voters in their borough.

This month, the council will view two budgets, one with a real estate tax decrease and one without. The tax decrease, which would mean about $300 extra for a person owning a $200,000 home, would cost the city revenue of about $11 million.

The real issue here is one of trust. Suffolk citizens have placed their trust in a council to act prudently in tax matters and to consider always the views and quality of life issues of those who put them there. As Councilwoman Linda Johnson said at the meeting last week, “The public has spoken loudly and clearly” on this issue. Clearly, the public’s voice is in favor of relief. Nevertheless, instead of voting that voice, now two budgets will be considered. Who has ever heard of such a thing?


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To say that the aforementioned trust is bending lately in the face of other powers in government would be an understatement. The city manager is not their boss; the people are.

As such, council should listen to their constituents, all of whom are concerned about any more threats to their quality of life. The unique issues and concerns of each borough should be brought forth zealously by each council member, without fear of repercussion or scorn from anyone. The citizens of Suffolk deserve no less from those city council members in whom they place their trust.

I implore the citizens of Suffolk to vote for the candidate for city council who they believe will fight against the powers that be in order to fulfill the wonderful potential our city has.

As it stands, the promises of council members to their constituents have largely been broken due to cowardice and lack of leadership. City council members should be the collective voice of Suffolk citizens instead of puppets on strings held by the city manager. It is time for citizens to demand accountability by council members.

W. Rufus Powell