Rhett King’s letter to the editor in the week’s edition of the Suburban News is full of distortions, inaccuracies, and flat out lies. But what else is new. That is Rhett King’s modus operandi.
King’s letter to the editor, Response to Mayor Blackman’s letter, appears on page 14 of the November 15, 2015 edition of the Suburban News. In his first sentence Rhett ignores reality when he cites the “fall issue of Sweden’s quarterly newsletter” as his source for information about the Town Court. That shows how weak his argument is. Volume 13, Issue 4 of the Town of Sweden Snapshots is just a thinly disguised political ad for the Sweden Republicans. New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman even opened an investigation to determine if it was a violation of the law for the Sweden Town government to use the taxpayer’s money to publish such a political document during an election campaign.
But Rhett King is a college landlord and he doesn’t like the fact that Mayor Blackman has increased the size of the Village’s Code Enforcement Department, and he doesn’t like the fact that the Village Board recently modified the Village Code to beef up penalties for code violations. King is more interested in the profit he makes from renting to college students than he is in good government, and he has been a foe of the Village government for a long time.
For example, back on January 25, 2010 Rhett King told the Democrat and Chronicle, “The village’s elected officials have not been good stewards of our money. They have used scapegoats and haven’t eliminated anything that caused the problems.”
But in fact, history has proven that the exact opposite is true. It is the Town of Sweden’s elected officials who have not been good stewards of the taxpayer’s money, and it is the Town of Sweden’s elected officials who have used scapegoats and haven’t eliminated anything that caused the problems. In that same edition of the of the Town of Sweden Snapshots, Town Supervisor Rob Carges said the town broke the tax cap because it couldn’t make up the money it lost to the Village Court. Supervisor Carges is the one who used a scapegoat when he blamed the village for causing the town to break the tax cap.
Rhett conveniently forgets that the Town of Sweden inappropriately exceeded the New York State’s Tax Cap, not the Village of Brockport.
Only 5.69% of the towns in New York State exceeded the property tax cap, but unfortunately Sweden was one of those towns. The tax cap was 1.56% but the Sweden Town Council passed a 2015 budget that raised the tax levy 5.09%. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli told National Public Radio reports that those towns “inappropriately exceeded” New York State’s property tax cap. The other 879 towns in New stayed within the property tax cap. But while 94.31% of the towns in New York State stayed within the tax cap, the Town of Sweden did not.
So despite what Rhett King says; it is the Town of Sweden’s elected officials have not been good stewards of the taxpayer’s money.
In his letter to the editor, King also mutilates the English language, by using the word “duplicative” instead of using “redundant”, but he was determined to say something bad about the new Village Court, perhaps because he is concerned that the Village Court will actually enforce the provisions of the Village Code. In reality, the management of the Sweden Town Court has been so bad that the New York State Comptroller’s Office chewed the town’s backside for it in the Comptroller’s Audit published last February.
- “The Justices do not provide adequate oversight of Court operations to ensure the accurate and complete collection, deposit, recording and reporting of Court moneys in a timely manner.”
- “The Justices have not adequately segregated the duties of the clerks and do not regularly review accounting records, bank statements or monthly reconciliations and accountability analyses.”
- “The Justices have not developed a policy or procedures to enforce collection of unpaid fines and fees.”
- “Due to these control weaknesses, it is impossible for the Justices to hold any clerks responsible for any errors, deficiencies or fraudulent or abusive activities that may occur, and the Court is not collecting all potential revenue.”
Moreover, the State auditors only looked at the financial operation of the Sweden Town Court. They did not look into the fact that Sweden Town Judge Carl Coapman had to resign in 2013 after evidence surfaced that Coapman had been intoxicated while presiding over a court hearing in May 2012.
Rhett has his facts wrong on the parking tickets too. He blames the village, but the problem actually happened back on February 12, 2012 when the Monroe County Sherriff had to come to the Town Hall after the Sweden Town Court lost a cardboard box filled with almost 200 parking tickets, which had been issued by the Brockport Police Department during January. The box of confidential information Town of Sweden had been stored on the floor under the desk of the Deputy Town Clerk, Kathy Roberts. But Rhett King conveniently forgets about that, just as he forgets about the town justice who was drunk while presiding in court.
Rhett King also forgets that it is the Town of Sweden Court that is guilty of needless duplication. The Town of Sweden Court still has three judges, even though State law only requires the court to have two judges, and even though the case load of the Sweden town court has dropped dramatically since the formation of the Brockport Village Court. But Rhett King fails to mention that the members of the Sweden Town Council simply don’t have the leadership skills needed to convince the needless third judge, Bobby Connors, to resign and save the taxpayers of Sweden thousands of dollars in needless expanses.
But what else would you expect from Rhett King? He never gets his facts straight, and he is never willing to admit that the Town of Sweden government is human and capable of making mistakes. He is too busy saying misleading things about Brockport Mayor Blackman.