Private Information Used To Threaten, Embarrasses, Harass.

 

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?
#TTP #wedemandmore

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12 thoughts on “Private Information Used To Threaten, Embarrasses, Harass.”

  1. It’s called respect to those who need help paying their bills by not publishing their names. There is absolutely no reason for their names to be published for EVERYONE to see. It’s no one’s business but those who run the program. And anyone who wants to know who is asking for help – in my opinion – has no reason to have this information except to be nosy. And as we’ve seen, to cause problems.

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  2. Why the fear about transparency in government? Who cares if someone knows I paid my water bill, or not? Are they going to have fun spreading ‘dirt’? As you can see from various responses, often this tossing of ‘dirt’ backfires on the person doing the tossing.

    If the issue involves tax payer money, and that includes city costs plus giving out grants, handouts, assistance , etc, we should all know about it, How much , who gets it, how it is spent. Disagree? Why???

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  3. This is just what I’m talking about when you want residents to give information, but when they do their name may be given to the person they are reporting. This administration leaks like a sieve this is just one more example of that happening this time however it’s information that should never be given to anyone. Even a member of the City Council outside of the person who needs to apply the credit to a water bill there is no need in any universe where this should be known by anyone else. There was a reason why this information was given to Councilwoman Horvath the person who gave it to her knew that she doesn’t like Councilwoman Hicks-Clayton knew that Councilwoman Horvath would use this information in an attempt to try and make something dirty out of it. I don’t know how other councils act in other city’s I do know how I expect council members in Dearborn Heights to act…this isn’t it.

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  4. Well said! Just think of the information one can get online by spending …say….$35?

    Folk into the dating scene on line use these info sources all the time……don’t want to date a felon, loser, and one can be anything on the web…..at least, that is what I am told…….

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  5. Perhaps the general public is unaware of how much information held by state and municipal offices is not private. If you go to the Wayne County Treasurer’s website and plug in an address you can find out the name of the owner and whether they are current on their taxes. If they aren’t, you will find out how much they owe and if they are subject to foreclosure. The Wayne County register of deeds website will tell you who sold a house to whom, for how much and when and provide an actual copy of the deed.
    The city website will, for a fee, give you the name of a homeowner, the mailing address if it is different from the property address, the value of the property, when a house was sold and for how much and the parties to that sale, what type of ordinance violations there may be and if there are unpaid tickets for those violations, if the water bill is delinquent, the type of permits issued and to whom, if a property owner is claiming a homestead (or any other type) exemption on property taxes, how much the taxes are and if they’re delinquent. You can also get a drawing of the outline of the house and property. Contacting the city will also let you know if your neighbor’s dog is licensed, if the house has been registered as a rental and if there is a current certificate of occupancy in effect. Voter registration lists can be purchased. Not everything is on the website, but a contact with city staff can also provide this information; I used both ways to obtain information. There is probably more info available that I’m not aware of.

    State and federal laws govern confidentiality and public information, so we shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that employees should be fired until we are sure that a disclosure of confidential (as determined by law) information has occurred.

    Despite all of that, it was still a stupid, thoughtless and questionable action on Marge’s part.

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  6. Many programs are funded by tax dollars. Most programs account for recipients with non identifying information such as zip code, demographic information, etc. This way the tax payers and their elected representatives can track the cash. There is no need or purpose for disclosing names or addresses to the general public. Those that are given identifying information should use it to make certain the program is administered according to established guidelines. Identifying information should not be used as a weapon! Shame on Councilwoman Horvath! Do us all a favor CM Horvath, step down and take your buddies CM Kosinski and the Mayor with you.

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  7. I to have had my name given out when I reported ordinance violations, this should never have happened. I asked that the person be spoken to and I was told that the officer never mentioned my name. I sure. Would like to know who gave my name out when it’s city policy not to give names out.

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  8. I for one signed up for the WRAP program which now makes me worried. I do not want everyone knowing my business. I certainly will be getting in touch with Wayne county. Since I signed up for this my water bill went up almost to the amount I am receiving in a reduction. Seems suspicious to me. My water bill, since January, has declined every 2 months. When I signed up for the help my next water bill went up $30 dollars. I have not used any more water and no leaks and it is coming on winter. The program has no provisions for anyone that is handicapped and cannot leave their house , which is discrimination . There is no way to sign up unless you can get there yourself. That eliminates people who qualify for the program. I will be calling on Monday….

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  9. I agree that using this type of information just to embarrass a fellow council-member is terrible. There is no logical reason for someone on the council to need this, especially when you understand why Lisa filed the application. The mayor doesn’t want employees talking to council members, but maybe he would make an exception for talking to Marge?
    That being said, however, please understand that much of the information collected by the city is public information and is available to anyone who requests it. Tax payments, ordinance violations, building permits, property assessments, etc. are all public information.

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  10. She withdrew from the program on September 15th and Lee you are missing the point of the post. I’m horrified to think that employees over at our City Hall would breach a trust given them by the public. No, your name shouldn’t be public information it’s not mine, yours or anyone else’s business who is qualifying for any given program to receive assistance. No, it’s not my business if you were late or haven’t paid your water bill. No, it’s not my business how much any give person receives in welfare or anything else. Certainly not when someone is going to use that information in a way to malign the person who is asking for assistance.

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  11. WRAP (after a visit to their website) appears to be funded by taxpayers.

    Taxpayers should be able to know what their taxes are being used for.

    A review of the site shows a very low threshold to qualify, like 150% below the poverty level. Of course , the poverty level in the USA is a misnomer, not to mention what is considered poverty level in one state or city, is considered riches in another.

    What is the harm of making just the names on the list public? Information in the public domain is everywhere…..have an address, I can tell you the history of it, past owners etc. Ever hear of Zaba Search?

    Free,, and it tells you more than you want to know, and if you give them money, nothing is secret.

    An added benefit of knowing who is on the list could bring neighbors together, to help out financially.

    Hicks-Clayton getting $25 is only one fourth of the transit tax bill cost to each of us, another one to vote NO on..
    Rail and buses are antique…..the new wave is electric cars robotically controlled. Rail use by poor patrons will decline. The better off financially riders on rail get, the faster they leave the rail and buy a car!

    Helping the poor is a good thing. Having a public list of people that need help seems better than keeping it a secret. Folk like Hicks-Clayton who are not poor but just want to check out the system can deny the money, right?

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  12. This hate that Marge has for Lisa is beyond the pale. It just keeps goin’, doesn’t it? We have Joe Kosinski who maligns the residents and infers that we’re not intelligent enough to understand what’s going on. Then we have his leader, Marge, who maligns another city council person within hearing of residents and now this. Then we have a mayor who has a luncheon for these two, paid for by the taxpayers at INVITATION ONLY. We PAID for this so we should have been allowed to go. This should have been and OPEN invitation, Mr. Mayor, to ANYONE who wants to attend. You continue to pull stunts like this and foster bad feelings among the council members. And now we have the garbage contract that was given to the council and told they needed to make a decision within a short amount of time. They were supposed to accept the fact that you and your Mrs. did the investigation. And then we have an older council member who says that the reason she’s voting for Rizzo is “because that’s what the mayor wants and we should give it to him.” We didn’t elect you to vote with the mayor because that’s what he wants. You’re SUPPOSED to be separate from the mayor. That’s why we have you in this position. You’re supposed to vote your conscience. You’re supposed to vote IN OUR BEST INTERESTS – not the mayor’s. It’s time for the two of you to step down because you’ve forgotten why you were elected in the first place.

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