Off The Wall
On The Record
Registered Sex Offenders for Edgefield
2005 Crime Stats
& Audio Updates
PO Box 972
State and Federal
Local Political Parties
Chamber of Commerce
New York Times
New York Post
Los Angeles Times
past articles please visit our Archives
Actions of County Council Chairman called into question
An Opinion of the Editor
posted March 27, 2009
COLUMN – A community correspondent for the
Edgefield Advertiser, Linda Nidiffer, presented an interesting question
in her column this week - can County Council Chairman Monroe Kneece
make motions, or vote for that matter on issues before the council. She
correctly asserts that Chairman Kneece has made motions and voted on
the matters more than once in recent meetings. She queried if Robert’s
Rules of Order allowed Chairman Kneece to afford himself the liberties
he is taking as Chairman of the County Council. We decided to look into
the matter and the findings are quite interesting.
Rules of Order, which have been adopted as parliamentary procedures
for county council meetings, and the South Carolina Code of Laws
governing the responsibilities of the County Council Chairman, nowhere
is it codified that the chairman can bring forth a motion for a vote.
In fact, quite the opposite is true.
According to Robert’s Rules of Order, a “member” of the body
must first be “recognized by the chair” in order to bring forth a
motion for consideration. A second of the motion is required from
another “member” and the second is to be directed towards the chair in
order for discussions or a vote to be held.
chair is not to be part of the debate of a matter before the body
and can only provide facts already before the body for clarification.
The clarifications of the responsibilities of the chair are spelled out
clearly in Article X, Section 58.
In the same section it specifically states that, “The chairman
sometimes calls a member to the chair and takes part in the debate.
should rarely be done, and nothing can justify it in a case where
much feeling is shown and there is a liability to difficulty in
preserving order. If the chairman has even the appearance of being a
partisan, he loses much of his ability to control those who are
opposite side of the question. There is nothing to justify the
unfortunate habit some chairmen have of constantly speaking on
questions before the assembly, even interrupting the member who has the
floor. One who expects to take an active part in debate should never
accept the chair, or at least should not resume the chair, after having
made his speech, until after the pending question is disposed of. The
presiding officer of a large assembly should never be chosen for any
reason except his ability to preside.”
Chairman Kneece is on record taking an active role in debates of
motions before the council including those he has made himself and
other rules suggest the chair (Chairman) is to cast a vote only in the
result of a tie of the governing body.
A cursory search of the SC Code of Laws
does not provide for an absolution of Robert’s Rules of Order on the
role of the chairman of a county council with a county that chose to
have a council and administrator form of government.
Regardless, the chair of the public body is to oversee the debate by
other members of the body. He is to remain impartial during those
debates on a question (motion, resolution, or other matter) before the
body according to Roberts Rules of Order.
Does this mean the motions made by County Council Chairman Monroe
Kneece are invalid? Not being a scholar of Robert’s Rules of Order, nor
a lawyer, that determination is better left to more competent jurists.
But the question certainly deserves clarification by the County
It is also dutiful to note that Chairman Kneece has recently announced
after executive sessions that a decision was made behind closed door
meetings. The most recent was the announcement at the March 3 County
Council meeting in which the members emerged from an executive session
to have Chairman Kneece announce, “That we decided that we were
going to pursue anything further on the Calliham property” (which
up for public sale). Chairman Kneece then called for a motion to
adjourn which was given and the meeting ended without a public vote in
open session on the action, or inaction, of the county council as
required by law.
EdgefieldDaily.com has reported other incidents where Chairman Kneece
announced a decision after exiting executive sessions and has provided
audio recordings in some cases reported and has all cases, reported or
not, on file.
The serious question that remains for County Council members Genia
Blackwell and Rodney Ashcraft is, will they be the ones to address the
problems that plague our county government or become just two more of
those who “go along to get along”?
During research for this column it was also discovered that the county
council can only provide funding, by law, to non-governmental bodies
from “additional funds” available to the county. How Administrator John
Pettigrew can justify his personal insertion of almost $45,000 in
“additional” funding for Piedmont Tech, or the county council’s 3-2
vote to fund “additional funding” for the Tompkins Library” when the
county is running a negative budget this year, remains to be justified
not only morally, but also legally.
“Council may make supplemental appropriations which shall specify the
source of funds for such appropriations. The procedure for approval of
supplemental appropriations shall be the same as that prescribed for
enactment of ordinances.
For the purposes of this section a supplemental appropriation shall be
defined as an appropriation of additional funds which have come
available during the fiscal year and which have not been previously
obligated by the current operating or capital budget. The provisions of
this section shall not be construed to prohibit the transfer of funds
appropriated in the annual budget for purposes other than as specified
in such annual budget when such transfers are approved by the council.”
I eagerly await the justification of “additional funds” being dispensed
by the county council while they also enact an across the board
reduction of pay to county employees and can still find “additional
funds” (surplus funds) to provide free money to non-governmental
This will most likely be met with legal challenges in the court system
by taxpayers. State law requires the county council to provide for the
necessary functions of the county government.
© Copyright 2009
original material is property of
EdgefieldDaily.com and cannot be reproduced, rewritten or redistributed
without the expressed written permission of Edgefield Daily.com
JAM Straight Customs
We still need recipes for Cooking Section
WEBNEWS – Send in your favorite or
favorites. There is no limit to the number of recipes you can send in.
With the Editor’s wife being the driving force behind her own personal
section, help her create an exchange of local favorites, home cooking,
grilling, sauces, and deserts! Send in your submissions here.