Bennett shares responsibility for ‘bin tax’

Published 12:31 am Sunday, October 7, 2012

To the editor:

Mr. Leroy Bennett, as a candidate for Suffolk’s Mayor, has tried to make an issue of what he refers to as the “Blue Bin Tax” dealing with recycling and trash collection fees.

Let me remind you that Mr. Bennett served as the Vice Chairman and Chairman of Southeastern Public Service Authority during his tenure from 1998 to 2008, when he was not reappointed by City Council to represent Suffolk on that board.

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During Mr. Bennett’s time on the SPSA Board, SPSA had to deal with its near financial collapse, which resulted in SPSA having to sell one of its major assets located in Portsmouth and to adopt one of the highest dumping fees per ton in the nation.

Once the investigation started, news reports and a 70-page audit concluded that SPSA was woefully mismanaged and that its board members, including Mr. Bennett, had no clue what was going on with SPSA’s expenses. In fact, a Virginian-Pilot article at the time showcased expenditures involving trips for SPSA’s employees and board members, gifts to board members and expensive dinners and receptions at a private club in Norfolk.

Obviously SPSA was in the business of doing more than handling the region’s trash. Mr. Bennett was part of this gross mismanagement and enjoyed the fruits of sitting on that board. He was a large part of the disservice done not only to Suffolk, but to the entire Hampton Roads region by allowing such gross mismanagement to continue.

The consequence of this debacle necessitated that Suffolk create the recycling fee and trash fee to help pay for the mistakes and bad decisions of Mr. Bennett.

He helped create this mess, and he now wants to condemn responsible city leaders for taking a proactive approach.

Charles D. Parr Sr.


Suffolk City Council