Some of you might have heard about a program that the City is involved with called WRAP. This program gives a maximum subsidy of $25.00/ month to residents who qualify towards their water bills. Recently, it has come to my attention that someone in the City who has access to the list of residents who applied for this program has given the name of at least one person to Councilwoman Horvath. She is now using this information to embarrasses, harasses, and make false claims against this resident. The person that Councilwoman Horvath is gossiping about is Councilwoman Hicks-Clayton.
After hearing about this, I called Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton to first find out if it was true and second how in the world this could have happened? This is what she told me.
In late August, Lisa Hicks-Clayton applied for this program. At the time she did not know if she would even qualify for it. However, she wanted to know how much time it took to apply and how long it would take for those who qualified to receive assistance. She then went through the long application process. She subsequently withdrew from the program on September 15th as she never intended get assistance for her bill. She said that was not the point of her applying. She just wanted to make sure she could answer any questions, if asked by a needy resident, about the program’s application process as accurately as possible.
Councilwoman Hicks-Clayton then said to me that it was very disturbing to her as to how anyone in the City would even know that she went through the process. I agreed and told her that I was going to write about this and I wanted answers as to how this happened. This is a privacy issue, I told her, and no one in the City should be talking about anyone’s business. Today, Friday, October 21, 2016, Councilwoman Hicks-Clayton got back to me. She spoke to the director of the program who told her that the list of those who signed up for this program was sent to the Treasurer’s office and the water billing department on September 10th, 2017. The water billing is managed by the comptroller’s office. So, someone in one of those departments is giving out the names of people on this list. Councilwoman Horvath got this information from a source unknown to myself or Councilwoman Hicks-Clayton. The fact that this information was used by Councilwoman Horvath in any way to embarrass, harasses, or to malign Councilwoman Hicks-Clayton is disgusting. The fact that employees in this administration are showing anyone in the City the names of individuals who sign up for this program or any other program is a violation of privacy. Employees and elected officials of Dearborn Heights are entrusted with private information on each resident who lives here. They have access to our tax records, water records, and any property violations. To think that anyone of them can request this information and then turn around and use it to embarrass, malign, or intimidate residents is shameful and downright unethical. The utter gall of Councilwoman Horvath to not only get her hands on this information, but to then start gossiping about it disqualifies her in my eyes as being fit for office.
What is next? Is every employee who qualifies for government assistance and/or is receiving it is going to be called out by Councilwoman Horvath? Don’t kid yourself, many of our employees qualify and receive assistance. I don’t know in what world the person who gave Councilwoman Horvath Councilwoman Hicks-Clayton’s name thinks that this was a great thing to do. I think it isn’t. Having access to this information is a privilege and it is entrusted to you it is not your right to have it. I demand that Council Chairman Bob Constan do a full investigation in order to find the person and department that disclosed this information to Councilwoman Horvath. Councilwoman Horvath should be censured for her behavior and removed as the Council Chair Pro Tem. The employee(s) who gave this information to Councilwoman Horvath should be disciplined, if not fired from the City, immediately.
Be sure that if I heard this then there are at least four or five other people who know about this. Is it any wonder there isn’t a line of people waiting to run for office in this City? Why would you want to when there is someone sitting on the council with you that is doing everything to get whatever information she can get on you to then try and turn it into something dirty. Let’s be clear… if there wasn’t an administration that condoned this kind of behavior this wouldn’t have happened in the first place. It’s a shame that just for trying to go the extra mile this action would be turned into something negative. What’s happening to this City? Since when is this alright? Since when do people do things like this to one another?