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Opinion

County Council seeks referendum on four year terms


A Column by the Editor
web 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 two-year term.

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 forget things.

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 in 2010.

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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Parting Shots
A new book by Columnist Carl Langley

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