Shenandoah County Treasurer Cindy George responded Monday to Supervisor Richard Walker’s recent public criticism of her office’s performance.
Walker, the Board of Supervisors member for District 4, made comments at its meeting Oct. 22 critical of the Treasurer’s Office’s effort to collect delinquent property taxes. Walker did not mention George by name in his comments and he also used the supervisor comment period at the public meeting to criticize his fellow board members on other topics.
Walker is challenging George, the county’s longtime treasurer, for the constitutional office in the Nov. 5 election. George did not attend the meeting. District 4 Supervisor Karl Roulston admonished Walker for campaigning from his board seat when George could not respond.
George spoke by phone Monday in response to Walker’s comments.
“Well, he laid out his whole campaign right there on the podium,” George said.
Walker had at the meeting reiterated what he had said in response to questions asked at a candidates’ forum held earlier this month.
George provided additional responses in an email on Tuesday to Walker’s comments.
“Contrary to his statements at the BOS meeting, Supervisor Walker has been given any and all information that he has requested of me,” George states in the email. “The request for a list of properties sold in 2018 and 2019 was not available because no sales were performed in those years.
“Not having a sale does not mean that there has not been any work done to collect the taxes, it means that the property owners paid the taxes in order to retain their property after they were presented with the intent to sell their property for delinquent taxes,” George goes on to state. “The ultimate goal of the Treasurer is to collect taxes, not sell property.”
The Treasurer’s Office’s real-estate collection is 99.77% for a 20-year period, George notes. All tracts delinquent from 1999-2014, including the 32 that Walker mentioned in his comments at the board meeting, are in an active collection process, George adds.
“Supervisor Walker’s use of the word ‘indicted’ is misleading to citizens, and I believe it is intentional,” George states. “To be clear, during my tenure, all outside audits, as well as State audits, performed have been 100% positive with no material weaknesses.”
Supervisors can make comments during the time available at the end of each board meeting.
“I feel that (Walker) used the time allotted to him as a Supervisor as a last ditch effort to attempt to make his ‘campaign’ agenda public through the recording of the meeting and resulting press coverage,” George states. “He may not have mentioned me by name however I am the Treasurer so it is obvious that persons reading the article knew who he was talking about in an effort to discredit my record and service as Treasurer.
“An elected Supervisor should know that ‘campaigning’ from the podium would be unacceptable and irresponsible,” George goes on to state. “That was a decision that he made and I believe showed his true character and agenda. I thank Supervisor Roulston for addressing this inappropriate behavior.”