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Force in place to derail vote on recent budget to fund employee benefits

web posted May 22, 2009
COLUMN – Kudos to Edgefield County Council Chairman Monroe Kneece for seeing the need to reach a compromise in the impasse regarding the county budget for Edgefield County. Chairman Kneece and County Councilwoman Genia Blackwell were able to reach a compromise that partially funded several of the non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) and fully funded the promised insurance benefits to county employees. They were joined with the support of Councilman Rodney Ashcraft.

County Council members Norman Dorn and Willie Bright disagreed and seemed oblivious to calls for fiscal responsibility and made sure the county paid for their free trip to Hilton Head on the taxpayers’ dime.

Councilmen Bright and Dorn expressed the need to go to the meetings so they can obtain the training necessary to fulfill their duties as county council members. Really? They have both been on the county council for nearly twenty years, which begs the question; if you haven’t “learned” what it means to be a county council member by now, what good is another training session going to do?

County Council newcomers Rodney Ashcraft and Genia Blackwell sure have not needed to be “schooled” on how to represent their constituents; they just do it by listening to those who elected them. I know that may seem unconventional to some of our more “learned” veteran councilmen, but sometimes the beauty of something is in its simplicity. It is obviously something County Council Chairman Monroe Kneece has come to appreciate.

The county council cast an advisory vote at Tuesday night’s work session to accept a balanced budget and many county employees breathed a heavy sigh of relief. All I can say is you might want to hold some of that air in case you need it later.

Rest assured County Administrator John Pettigrew is pulling out all the stops to make sure that his plan to force county employees to pay for their promised insurance stays on track in spite of the vote. County employees need to know that the Edgefield County Council did not create that debacle, it was the brainchild of Administrator Pettigrew and he made it known to county department heads, and therefore county employees, before the county council even received the budget numbers in a memo he authored. 

That’s his “baby” and he is determined to see that he can flex his muscle and control (or his desired control) over the county council.

Now there is a great manager of employees for you. Pit employees against the very people they work for, the county council. That’s leadership for you, Edgefield ‘Good Old Boy’ style.

Let’s face facts; County Administrator John Pettigrew was not listed as one of the qualified candidates that applied for the job by the Upper Savannah Council of Governments who conducted the search for a new administrator. So how was the class clown chosen for the job over those who were exceedingly qualified? 

That’s a rhetorical question, of course.

He has been and will continue to be a failure as an administrator, but he cares little because the same puppet master that placed him in the job will do everything to keep him in the job.

Yes, watch the puppet show and ignore the man behind the curtain.

County employees, be afraid, be very afraid. Your fate lies with one man - County Council Chairman Monroe Kneece. Taxpayers and county employees need to contact Chairman Kneece and let him know where you stand in this debate.

From 10 am and 2 pm call him at 803-275-4589 and after 2 pm call 803-275-2322 as listed on the Edgefield County Council website.

Or you can do nothing and taxes will be raised for no reason other than to give money away to put a millage rate increase on the tax books, employees will pay for insurance, and the status quo will continue.


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