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Time of reckoning for inaccurate county records draws near

A Column by the Editor
web posted August 27, 2008
COLUMN – I have remained relatively quiet on the near seven-minute tirade by Edgefield County Councilman Norman Dorn at the monthly public meeting on July 1. During his near seven-minute rant he called me a “liar” and a “crook” more than once and is on record doing so, it is just not part of the “official record”. I remained quiet because I wanted to allow the full Edgefield County Council, Clerk to Council, and the Administrator ample time to produce their version of the meeting, vote on it, and then publish their “official record”. It was no surprise that the “official” record omits the entire portion of the meeting containing the attack.

The current members of the county council have an inclination of doing that when it suits their fancy. In July of 2006 Edgefield County Probate Court Judge Bobby Peeler addressed the county council concerning an “administrator” of his court’s computers disabling the security features and allowed the entire computer system to be invaded by thousands of viruses, spyware, and other malicious attacks. The conflict, heated at times, ended with County Council Vice-chairman Willie Bright confirming former County Administrator Wayne Adams was the administrator of the court’s computers.

The matter took nearly two-thirds of the entire meeting, yet, in the official records, it is listed as a single sentence stating Judge Peeler addressed the council on a computer matter. Making the incident more deceitful was that it was done just before Judge Peeler’s bid for re-election in June. Adams resigned his position and took another job the following month.

I expected nothing different when a sitting county councilman verbally attacked a private citizen during a meeting. Why, that might look bad so if we just say it never happened, it never happened.

Well, guess again my friends.

The personal attacks by Councilman Norman Dorn during the official meetings are well documented. He has attacked everyone and anyone he thinks did him wrong in his personal life under the auspice of official county business by claiming “the floor” before launching into his tirades.

He has attacked the Chief Magistrate Davis Parkman because he lost a case in his court. He has attacked the Town of Edgefield and Mayor Ken Durham because he was sent a letter that was sent to many property owners about the condition of property that was in violation of ordinances. He even told Mayor Durham, who stood to address Dorn’s concerns, to sit down that he did not want to hear from anyone – he had the floor.

But when Norman Dorn takes the floor to personally attack a taxpayer, he crossed a line he cannot scurry back over and expect to hide behind his delusion of grandeur as an all-powerful politician. In fact, this time he roped the rest of the council and administration as he jumped over that cliff.

However, true to form, the “good ole boys club” circled the wagons and voted to approve minutes they indisputably knew were inaccurate and lacking even though state law requires the minutes to accurately reflect “all matters” discussed.

You have to remember, however, that the minutes of the meetings that are presented to the county council to be voted on are transcribed by Clerk to Council Barbara Stark under the guidance of the County Administrator John Pettigrew - who in my opinion is better suited for his previous job as a used car salesman rather than our county administrator.

The question comes down to who made the call to alter public records?

Did Clerk to Council Barbara Stark take it upon herself to intentionally omit a portion of the official record on her own volition? If she did she should be fired at once.

County Administrator John Pettigrew certainly has to preview the minutes of the meetings before they are presented to be voted on by council. Did he order the portion of the meeting be left out? If so, he should be fired. Did he just pass the transcribed document on without review?

If so, then he is derelict in his duties and the omission would then have to be that of Clerk to Council Barbara Stark. Not a pretty picture for either one if you ask me.

Of course, we cannot leave out the boys club. Those five county leaders who have allowed more shenanigans to course through the veins of this county’s government for far too long. They ultimately voted to approve official records they knew were inaccurate.

And let’s be honest here, it is not as if the majority of Edgefield County was not aware of what took place at the July 1 meeting. It was reported by EdgefieldDaily.com (audio made available), the local papers, and has been the talk on the street for two months. The only people the county council members, County Administrator John Pettigrew, and Clerk to County Council Barbara Stark were lying to by omitting the event were themselves.

I can assure you they will have a lot of explaining to do in the very near future.

I can’t wait to hear their explanation.

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