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Opinion

Four year terms should be shunned, not endorsed


A Column by the Editor
web posted August 7, 2008
COLUMN – The Edgefield County Council is once again floating the lead balloon of four year staggered terms for county council seats in a referendum this November. Obviously the majority of the council, who has served almost two decades each, is getting old and facing election every two years is becoming more difficult each election. It also shows that Chairman Monroe Kneece, Vice-chairman Willie Bright, and County Councilman Norman Dorn, who have been turned down on this issue more than once, can’t take no for an answer.

It is odd that the council would bow to the pressure of a few well-placed individuals for yet another referendum that would benefit them, but sued to stop a legal petition requesting a referendum when it went against their unpopular ambitions.

Well respected resident Bob Ramsey spoke at the public hearing on the issue Tuesday night and said that if a “wholesale” replacement of the county council took place it would be a disaster for the county. According to Mr. Ramsey, industries and corporations look at the makeup of the local government in the process of finding a location to establish a new plant or facility. If a majority of council members could be overturned in a single election, these companies would move to more secure government bodies.

Well, the government that works best works best when held responsible often at the local level. If the House seats for the State and US Congress can run every two years for office, so can our local county council.

One would also have to conclude that the only thing standing between a “wholesale”, or majority, of county councilmen being replaced this year is the re-election of embattled county councilman Norman Dorn. It could be reasonably construed then that Mr. Ramsey would then have to prefer county councilman Norman Dorn is re-elected to prevent this “disaster” from befalling the good people of Edgefield County.

Everyone knows how much intelligence councilman Norman Dorn brings to the table and that any multi-million dollar corporation would jump at the chance to negotiate a deal with him. Yet, evidently, Mr. Dorn is the only thing standing between us and certain “disaster” this coming November.

In no way am I belittling Mr. Ramsey’s opinion, his credentials in big government and the process in Washington DC are impressive and he has the wellbeing of the county at heart. He has good intentions. But many wars have been fought upon good intentions.

I agree with Mr. Ramsey in one respect, corporations and industries do look at the makeup of our local county government when choosing where to locate. A majority of these members have been in power for almost 20 years and this county has lagged behind in almost every category of progress under their leadership.

Perhaps removing what is not working and replacing it with those more knowledgeable could be a good thing, not devastation. To an extent I could say that “if it is not broken do not fix it,” but the progress Edgefield County has been able to achieve over the past 20 years under their leadership has been negative, not positive, and why settle of the status quo when we could move forward under new leadership?

Sure the county council can claim they have brought new jobs to the county at a snails pace, but count up all the jobs that have been lost under their leadership and we are facing the economic devastation that our current leaders have brought us. And replacing them would be “devastating”?

Excuse me if I do not want to sign on to securing longer tenures of office of those responsible for our current situation. I would say that is proof we need a “wholesale” overhaul of our elected leaders, not a protection of them.

Mr. Ramsey also stated that it would take a newly elected county council member a year or more to learn the job. If that is true, then the person offering him or her self for office is not qualified to run in the first place.

I always thought we elected qualified candidates, not trainees. I never saw a campaign sigh that read, “Elect me, I am a fast learner” during the primaries.

When I vote for a candidate I expect them to be capable of doing the job the day they are elected. Sen. Shane Massey sure did not sit around for a year waiting to be taught how to be a senator when he won the special election, he hit the ground running as a senator.

I expect no less from my local elected officials.






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