Tuesday, July 9, 2013
On July 30, citizens will head to the polls to cast their vote in a special referendum on whether to change our form of government from the current Council-Supervisor to Council-Administrator. Williamsburg County is only one of four counties left in the state that operates under the current form of government.
There are differences between the two and if you are interested in learning about them visit the South Carolina Association of Counties or simply Google "South Carolina form of government".
Under the current council-supervisor form, if citizens aren't happy with their elected official they can vote him out when his term is up. On the other hand, under the council-administrator form of government the life of a hired administrator will depend on his council's satisfaction with his performance.
For those who do not attend county council meetings or keep up with local current events, the road to this evolution was initiated after a handful of people successfully achieved the required number of signatures to trigger the referendum. And over the past three months County Council has been following an oftentimes hotly debated timeline in order to hold the referendum at the end of this month.
During a recent public hearing several citizens spoke out against the notion of a council having the sole responsibility of hiring the administrator. By doing so, some argued, would take away the citizen's right to vote for the candidate of their choice.
Our current supervisor is an intelligent man having earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and a Master of Arts Degree in Business Management. If the Council/Administrator form of government were in place before Mr. Pasley took office, I'm willing to bet he would have been hired based on his education as well as his experience. In fact, Kingstree Town Council hires the Town Manager and the School District Board of Trustees hires the Superintendent. Having said that, this form of government doesn't always foster a meaningful relationship between the two and in some instances creates the "revolving door syndrome". If I'm not mistaken, Kingstree Town Council has hired - and fired - around 6 Town Managers over the past dozen years.
So what is so bad about the current form of government? It depends on the individual. Electing a person to any position is a crapshoot. Not that I'm interested (or qualified) - but if I'm popular enough, I talk a good game, and make a bunch of promises that nobody has the sense enough to question how I plan to follow through on my promises - after the next election I just might be running this County. The problem is the citizens were unaware that I have no clue how to prepare a multimillion dollar operating and capital budget, direct county-wide operations or execute policies and legislative actions of the council: Or worse, that I have my own agenda. But hey - that happens all the time. Just look at Washington...