The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is South Attleboro City Collector Debora Marcoccio. She gets the award for the following-
ATTLEBORO - A 74-year-old blind woman has been told a lien will be put on her South Attleboro home if she doesn't come up with a penny she owes on an outstanding utility bill.I make a bet there's a feature in whatever software that is used by Ms. Marcoccio's office that allows sorting by amounts. Hell Microsoft Money does it. Either the office people don't know it or are too lazy to use it. Asking for government efficiency is too much. Therefore you get someone spending 42 times the amount of a particular bill to try to collecting it or a state lottery spending a million dollars contesting a $5 winning lotto ticket.
Eileen Wilbur, of Glenn Street, said she discovered the notice of the potential lien after her daughter, Rose Brederson, came over to read her mail.
"It's so upsetting," Wilbur said. "It sent my blood pressure up so high."
The city sent Wilbur a letter dated Nov. 10 stating that if the 1 cent balance is not paid by Dec. 10, the city will assess a lien of up to $48 on Wilbur's next property tax bill.
"They wasted taxpayer money on the letter," Wilbur said, noting the 42-cent charge for a stamp. South Attleboro resident Eileen Wilbur's bill from the city is for one penny.
City Collector Debora Marcoccio said the bill was sent out along with more than 2,000 others as the city tries to recoup outstanding balances before resorting to putting liens on property.
A computer automatically printed the letters for any account with a balance remaining, and they were not reviewed by staff before being sent out, Marcoccio said.
"It would be fiscally irresponsible for me to have staff weed through the bills and pull out any below a certain amount," Marcoccio said. " And what would that amount be?"
According to the letter, the outstanding balance stems from a water and sewer bill from fiscal year 2008, which ran from July 2007 to July 2008.
Take the penny out of your desk drawer South Attleboro City Collector Debora Marcoccio. It is worth about as much as your brain and your managerial skills put together and why I name you today's Knucklehead of the Day.
Marcoccio said that before lien notices are sent out, the city sends out bills for the outstanding balance.
"My question is, how come it wasn't paid when the bills went out?" she said.
In the meantime, the city is holding firm on the amount due.
Marcoccio, who called the whole situation "ridiculous," said the city will not waive the balance.
"If there's a bill, it must be paid," she said