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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Editorial

Freedom of Information does not apply to Edgefield County Government

web posted November 16, 2005

The Freedom of Information Act is a very simple a straight forward law to read. Basically anything local, county, state, or federal government does is open for public scrutiny and is to be made available when the requestor shows up in person to view public information. Unless it is in Edgefield County. The Edgefield County Administrator’s Office refuses to allow employees to provide any information to the public and requires, deceitfully, that requestors have to place their inquiries in writing.

Kesha Bryant, who Administrator Wayne Adams placed in the job, is following in his footsteps lock stock and barrel. Five times EdgefieldDaily.com has requested to view the minutes of the September meeting of the Board of Assessment and Appeals in which a ruling was made against the County of Edgefield. One board member stated Mrs. Bryant was more than a little angry over the findings. Subsequently board members were told their terms had expired by Administrator Adams within two weeks of the hearing.

The members of the board were appointed on February 6, 2001 by the Edgefield County Council and no terms were discussed. The Edgefield County Council has just held its first reading of an ordinance to provide for the terms of the appointments of the board on November 1.

At that meeting Administrator Adams told the Council that the board members terms were up and they needed to be replaced. If that is true the supposed terms Adams refers to would be a four year term. However, even at that the members of the board would not be up for reappointment until February of 2006, a full four months away. Administrator Adams would not “mislead” the County Council again would he?

Is there a reason Adams’ pick is withholding information on the matter?

Why is Adams telling the County Council that terms are up for the Edgefield County Board of Assessments and Appeals when they are not over? Why did it come just two weeks after they ruled against the county in a hearing? And why above all is Kesha Bryant refusing to produce even the most public of public records regarding the matter?

One board member stated, “It ain’t right. If they want me to step down that is one thing, but to do it this way is flat out wrong.”  Wrong is not the word for the move. If in fact what they are saying took place Adams removed appointed officials of the county council which he has no authority over. To misinform the council, again, about the matter should be reason for immediate termination.

However, Adams mislead the county council in the secret off agenda insertion of an ordinance to zone the entire county and the trusting council went along and ended up looking like fools in the matter and voted to overturn the ordinance when the truth was exposed by EdgefieldDaily.com.

What does Adams have to hide and why is Bryant helping him hide it? Are records being altered? That would not happen in Edgefield County would it? Certainly not, that would be illegal.

Administrator Wayne Adams was responsible for banning EdgefieldDaily.com from county computers and almost landed the county in a federal suit until the County Council clipped his wings and restored access to our web site. Now it seems Adams is determined to prevent the most open and honest public media outlet from gaining access to public records when it again is embarrassing to him, his employees, and may expose other boards that have been terminated by him for ruling against the county.

Now, why would he do that?

 








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