Off The Wall
On The Record
Registered Sex Offenders for Edgefield
2005 Crime Stats
& Audio Updates
PO Box 972
State and Federal
Local Political Parties
Chamber of Commerce
New York Times
New York Post
Los Angeles Times
past articles please visit our Archives
Kneece refuses to release estimates to public, members of county council
A Column by the Editor
posted September 26, 2009
COLUMN – I suppose I live in a very
strange world, one where laws, rules, and words have meaning. Words
such as those spoken by Edgefield County Chairman Monroe Kneece on
Monday when he said in front of Interim Administrator Barbara Stark and
me, “we have nothing to hide,” when the
report of the costs of the
building project and the Calliham property was received. The first
thing that happened was a litany of excuses refusing to release the
figures all week. Chairman Kneece is even refusing to share the work
product with other members of the county council.
Moreover, the documents sought by EdgefieldDaily.com, and at this point
even members of the county council, are the work product documents from
the architectural firm 2KM on cost comparisons between building a new
5,000 square foot office building on Railroad Avenue and remodeling the
Calliham building. Work bought and paid for by the taxpayers.
It is the numbers that Chairman Kneece stated he didn’t like and
insinuated that he thought costs would be down, not up. When asked when
the numbers would be available Chairman Kneece stated he wanted
Building and Planning Director Mike Reed to clarify a “couple things”
and they would be released.
On Monday night a written request was filed to have the email
containing the requested information be forwarded to EdgefieldDaily.com
for the public to examine the fruits of their tax dollars at work.
Mike Reed wrote back on Tuesday that he sent the request to Barbara
Stark, as the Administrator, and she would have to be the one to
release them. Which did not happen.
On Thursday I appeared in person to
review the records with Barbara
Stark and Mike Reed both present in the Administration Building. Ms.
Stark said she was looking for a piece of paper that former
Administrator John Pettigrew signed to commit 2KM to produce the work
product that was provided, and asked for another day to produce the
I returned on Friday only to find Ms. Stark and Mike Reed both “taking
the rest of the day off” and were unavailable. Later I was told they
were not going to release the information because it was “inaccurate”.
If the architectural firm 2KM cannot produce accurate estimations,
perhaps we need to find a new firm to do the work. 2KM was also told
they could not release any information except to Mike Reed, who is not
even to a member of the county council that voted to hire the firm to
produce the work product.
The wagons are being circled around Chairman Kneece. The excuses
continue to grow and change by the day.
So, according to the way things sit at this time, Chairman Kneece, Mike
Reed, and Barbara Stark are the only people worthy of seeing the work
product, accurate, inaccurate, incomplete or otherwise. Not the members
of council elected to oversee the project or the taxpayers who are
paying for it. And since when does a firm send their report to a county
if they are incomplete or inaccurate?
What is inaccurate? Well, one thing that was involved in the estimation
was the site work that will be required regardless of where the
building is built or remodeled. That was not supposed to be included
according to Mike Reed.
Site work was not to be included on a major construction project? In
nearly 20 years in the construction field I have never heard of such.
Oh wait, the site work at the Calliham building would be very expensive
due to the steep slope of the land, the water runoff problem already
reported, and problems dealing with an existing building rather then
just clearing a lot to start a new construction.
Now I understand why they do not want those numbers included. It would
reveal the true costs involved. The people of the county do not need to
But who would do the site work? Is the county road crew going to do it?
No, that would be improper since the county road division is paid for
through a special tax to do only county road maintenance. Maybe the
site fairies are going to swoop in one night and do it for free.
I had one official that told me they were afraid that if the records
were released EdgefieldDaily.com would report on them and it would
cause an “uproar in the county”.
So hiding the records is permissible because releasing public
information would cause the people to go into an “uproar” over what
they are doing and they want to prevent the people from getting mad.
Yeah, I see no problems with that logic.
I suppose any council member who is not worthy of having the public
information shared even to them should just not bother going to
meetings. They do not need to be any more informed than the general
public and obviously, at least to Chairman Kneece, they are no more
important than the taxpayers they were elected to represent.
I suppose I will now be accused of writing “negative” things about
Edgefield County because I am accurately reporting what is actually
I’m sorry, but I am just a camera of sorts. If the baby in the picture
is ugly, don’t blame the camera, the baby is ugly.
© Copyright 2009
original material is property of
EdgefieldDaily.com and cannot be reproduced, rewritten or redistributed
without the expressed written permission of Edgefield Daily.com
We still need recipes for Cooking Section
WEBNEWS – Send in your favorite or
favorites. There is no limit to the number of recipes you can send in.
With the Editor’s wife being the driving force behind her own personal
section, help her create an exchange of local favorites, home cooking,
grilling, sauces, and deserts! Send in your submissions here.