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Bad things happen when good men do nothing

web posted October 26, 2006
OPINION – Bad things happen when good men do nothing. This has never been truer than today in Edgefield County and it is not just the Edgefield County Council. Bad things are happening across the county including within the Edgefield County School District. With the recent hoopla over the inaccurate reassessments many people are beginning to take notice. That is a good thing. But people should be involved in their government process long before it hits them hard in their pocketbooks when, more often than not, it is too late to act.

In regard to the Assessor’s Office it has been said that those doing the assessing were not qualified to do so. In addition, Edgefield County pays Kesha Bryant as the Tax Assessor and then pays a “consultant” even more money to do the job again. A consultant has been referred to as one who borrows your watch to tell you what time it is, pocket the watch, and then send you a bill for it. If Ms. Bryant is not qualified to do the job without a full time consultant to assist her, she does not need to be in the position.

And why were the two people responsible for doing the overwhelming majority of the assessing never able to pass the test to assess property, as some officials have said, yet their work product is being used for taxation?

It is common knowledge that the county will be happy to reduce taxes and assessments for just about anyone who challenges their bills in hopes that only about ten percent of those billed with inflated assessments will even bother to appeal them. A fact that sadly holds true. But why should it be that way. Is this not the local government “of the people, by the people, and for the people?”

With so many obvious signs pointing to impropriety it should be the responsibility of the local government to acknowledge that there is a problem and correct it without trying to take advantage of the uninformed or the elderly, who are usually the hardest hit.

When questioned on the issue the County Council could offer no answers only conclusions. It is sad their conclusions are the point they decided to stop thinking. To them, the complex problems have simple, easy to understand, wrong answers.

The issues do not end there. School board members who exceed allotted funds for travel are caught and what does the school board do to resolve the issue? Will they make the offenders pay the money back? No, School board chairwoman Sallie Cooks states they will just raise the allotted amount of funds available to the offenders.

The independent Fox Creek Charter High School, which is a public school, owes the Edgefield County School District money, a lot of money. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in fact. Does the ECSB hold the Fox Creek School Board’s feet to the fire? No, they softball pleasantries. Only District School Board member Brad Covar pointed out the fiscal problems everyone was avoiding.

With two key resignations in the school district people should take notice of what is going on behind the scenes before it is also too late to avert more resignations.

Of course, we cannot lay all the blame for the incompetence at the feet of our elected leaders taking advantage of their positions, most of that blame lies at the feet of the complacent voter. More often than not incumbents are not challenged.

Why? Because good men do nothing.


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