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County Council seeks referendum on four year terms
Column by the Editor
posted July 1, 2008
COLUMN – In case you did not know, the
Edgefield County Council will be considering a resolution to place a
referendum on the ballot in November for county council members to
serve four year staggered terms at their monthly meeting tonight at 6
pm. Where did this come from with two already lame duck councilmen and
a third facing a serious challenge that could unseat a majority of the
current county council in the same election? The last thing this county
needs is for any council member to serve anything longer than a
I will say this has been talked about in political circles for
sometime, but never in the county council chambers. So once again, our
county council springs their intentions (otherwise known as a done
deal) by placing an ordinance on the matter for first reading on the
agenda knowing that it will not be in the papers until after the first
reading is completed.
They do that with the dumb ideas they try to sneak by.
I guess they, well at least the remaining unseated councilmen, feel
that the voter’s memory is still in tact in two years and incumbents
are voted out of office. Maybe four years will allow the voter to
I have been asked previously about this by political party leaders
since March hoping for my support. Well… that dog ain’t gonna hunt.
If you want real changes in the way our county council is elected, I
can offer that change and the county will be better off for it.
Rather than vote for four year staggered terms, vote for six or eight
year term limits (three or four terms). Long sitting members like
Chairman Monroe Kneece, Vice-chair Willie Bright, and the council
jester Norman Dorn would all have to step out of the next election in
2010. With two, and possibly a third depending on the outcome of the
November election, would enter their first term.
This would allow the remaining “experienced” members to stay for two
years before being put out to pasture under the term limits. Viola –
staggered terms. At worst, two members would have to rotate off before
the remaining members would be forced to do the same. But it would
still force all five members to seek re-election every two years. If it
is good enough for the US and SC House of Representatives, it is good
enough for our county council.
The interest in such a move came because the county council has been
shaken to its good-old-boy core. Never before has the county seen such
interest in the county council races that saw four of five seats
challenged. They realized they could all be put out of office at one
time. They also fear the next election could see their demise as very
qualified candidates are starting to surface for otherwise “safe” seats
If you want even bigger changes in the elected officials’
accountability to the voters, remove party line voting in local
elections. Force voters to choose a person, not a party, in order for
the best candidate to win.
Should the county council be seated for four year terms? Should they be
placed on term limits? It would accomplish the same result and still
allow any council member to be removed in two years not four. Should
the county council races be non-partisan? Let the voters decide.
If County Council wants to pass a referendum for a vote, include all
the choices, not just the one they want. Attend the meeting at the
Edgefield County Council Chambers on Jeter Street (behind the
courthouse at Railroad Ave, 6 pm). Let your voice be heard.
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