Supervisors take appropriate steps in public apology

Published 9:42 am Friday, August 14, 2015

The Warren County board of supervisors is making the best out of a delinquent tax list disaster by issuing an apology.

In Monday’s edition of The Vicksburg Post a list of delinquent taxpayers was flat out wrong. Hundreds of home and business owners who had already paid taxes were included on the list.

The mistake was as District 5 Supervisor Richard George said “an insult to a person’s reputation by the very body that’s taking your money.”

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The error happened because of a simple mistake.

“When they (the tax collection employees) generated the information to go to the paper to be printed, it was based on those who had not paid by July 17,” County Administrator John Smith said. “They were too early. This was the first time for these employees, and mistakes were made.”

While every person makes mistakes, its seems it has become exceedingly rare in today’s world for wrongdoers to issue an apology. But that’s what taxpayers will get Aug. 17 and Aug. 24 when a corrected list is run in this newspaper. Smith said the apology would include the names of those who paid their taxes but were misidentified as delinquent.

There was much debate among county officials as to if the names of taxpayers erroneously listed should be listed again.

“You start listing names again, you’re going to be adding fuel to the fire, because a lot of people don’t want their names mentioned about the possibility they were late paying their taxes,” District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon said.

While we see Selmon’s point, we think the apology should include the names, as the original list included names. The inclusion makes the apology more personal and more authentic.

“We ought to be able to generate a list of those who were erroneously advertised and correct it in the paper one time,” George said, and we agree.

The mistake has been made, and the damage is down. But the right fix at the right time is on the way.