A new year filled with cooperation and togetherness? Nah. At a City Council committee meeting last week, Councilman Bruce Tyler accused a city official of playing loosely with the truth.
“I want to tell you unequivocally, I believe you stood up here and lied,” Tyler scolded a visibly shocked Doris Moseley, director of the city’s Department of Social Services. Moseley was responding to questions about a city program that funnels payments from the state to local day-care programs.
Nonprofits and other child-care programs provide services to needy children. They’re paid according to how many children take advantage of the program. Speaking on behalf of one such provider, the Capital Child Care Center, Marni Rice of Concerned Citizens for Richmond complained of delayed payments from the city.
Most payments received by the center arrive in a timely fashion, she said, but there are cases where payments from the city lag for weeks, if not months. While all of that center’s accounts were up to date, Rice said, “We’re concerned about others around the city.”
When Moseley stepped up to refute those claims, providing a printout of the city’s payment schedule, Tyler says he “took the gloves off.” To a somewhat shocked gallery, he accused the department of not processing the payments in a timely manner, and thereby jeopardizing child-service providers.
Days after the verbal jousting, Tyler isn’t exactly backing off. “It’s the same thing we’ve seen from this administration in the past,” he says of Mayor Dwight Jones’ office. “They’re trying to paint this thing in a certain light and I’m not going to have it.”
So, is the department purposefully trying to cover up mistakes? Or is Tyler’s frustration with Jones causing him to overreach? Council has ordered a full accounting of how the Social Services Department makes its payments.
As for Tyler’s blowup, the committee chairman, Chris Hilbert, apologized to Moseley for the “verbal assault.”
“We have disagreements ... you’re going to have differing opinions, but we can address those in a civil matter,” Hilbert said to a gallery filled with nodding city workers.