Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Everyone who is above ground has heard about all the controversy concerning the water line that was installed along Hwy. 311 in 2008.
When scores of taxpayers who live in the area and the media began to ask questions, everyone received the same “party line” from those responsible for installing this water line:
Supervisor Dan Davis contends the Hwy 311 water line was approved by Council in 2003, before he came to office.
Chairman Daniel Davis continued and stated that there were a number of issues with regard to some actions taken by Water and Sanitation over the years. An audit had been ordered and was in process at this time. The audit would include six years of BCWS activities. It was uncertain at what point the audit process was at, but Chairman Daniel Davis certainly hoped to have the results by the end of this year. The audit should answer all questions of concern when completed.
(Regular Council meeting, 6/22/09, pgs. 6 & 24)
Mr. Rogers continued and stated that he came before Council on November 26, 2003, and presented to Council BCWS’s recommendation of its next future projects. The Cross Water Project was one of those projects. It was approved to move forward with the projects.
(Regular Council meeting, 6/22/09, pg. 18)
The first and most important problem with this part of his statement is that there was no Council meeting on 11/26/03. The remainder of his statement strains reason.
Mr. Rogers continued and informed Council of how and where the water stopped on Highway 311. Mr. Rogers stated that he had no idea where Mr. Pinckney lived. As Mr. Rogers rode Highway 311, he reached the point of a wooded area approximately one mile long with one house at the edge of the area. There were also lowlands in there which would be a problem environmentally crossing. Mr. Rogers returned to the engineers and stated that to be a good place to stop running the waterline. That is where BCWS stopped. In was not until three months later that Mr. Rogers found out that BCWS had just passed Mr. Pinckney’s house with the waterline. Mr. Rogers stated that Mr. Pinckney did not have one thing to do with BCWS stopping that waterline where it did. The decision was made after a housing count was completed and reaching the point of the long wooded area with no houses.
(Regular Council meeting 6/22/09, pg. 18)
Mr. Micah Miley, BCWS Engineering Director, stated the timeline at the start of hiring engineers and contractors, as follows:
• In 2003, the project was listed as one of the capital projects, as mentioned.
• The project itself was referred to as the Cross Area Water Project.
• An environmental impact document was completed, as required by EPA, because there was an EPA portion of water to Cross schools project. In that document, BCWS looked at all the paved roads in the Cross Area. It was included into the scope of the original
project, as there was a plan in place to evaluate all paved roads in the area.
• June 2004, the project was still listed in the capital projects.
• June 2005, BCWS requested qualifications for engineers to design the project.
• January 2006, Council approved entering into a contract with Engineering Resources Corporation (ERC) for the design services of the project.
• The contract between ERC and BCWS included the original map of the Highway 311 Project with the Cross Area Water Project as down Highway 311 to where it stopped.
• February 2006, BCWS held a pre-design meeting with ERC, and minutes of the meeting reflect that the same scope of the project down Highway 311 to where it was currently terminated was in the project.
• March 2006, the engineer began surveying down along Highway 311 for the project.
• October 2006, plans were first submitted to BCWS from ERC.
• March 2007, second revisions with BCWS comments were submitted back.
• July 2007, the permit was submitted to the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), reflecting the number of services and scope of project as originally conceived. March 2008, construction for the project was advertised for bids.
• April 2008, County Council awarded the construction project for the entire Cross Area Water Project, including Short Cut Road and some others, along with Highway 311, for a total of cost of $2,240,000.
(Regular Council meeting, 6/22/09, pgs. 18-19)
Unfortunately for Mr. Miley, there is no bullet for Council's approval of the project.
Now that we have all enjoyed the fairy stories, lets look at the actual facts.
In the fall of 2008, GE&P attempted to go through the proper channels to obtain information on this topic. We submitted FOIA requests to both BCW&SA and to Berkeley County government. We received literally reams of information in reply. The big problems were that few of the documents we received contained information pertinent to the Hwy. 311 Water Project and none of our questions were answered by any of these documents. We re-submitted our request. This time we were informed that the information we requested was going to cost us money and a lot of it.
GE&P likes to play games as much as the next person but we soon tired of this game. We decided to take a different approach to secure the information we wanted. All information here in contained was obtained from the following sources: Minutes of County Council meetings, located on the BC web site, summery of CDBG (Community Development Block Grants) for the past five years, provided by COG, (Council of Governments) BCW&SA Capital Improvements Projects lists, BCW&SA Five year Surveys, BCW&SA budgets, BCW&SA bond issues, and copies of the actual contracts awarded to construction companies installing the various water line projects within the Cross area. Since GE&P had no cooperation from either BCW&SA or BC government, it has taken many months to accumulate these documents.
The way the BCW&SA is supposed to operate is quite simple. Every year, they come to Council with a list of proposed projects. Council listens to the presentation and, after much discussion, decides which projects will be approved. Then one list (Capital Improvements Projects list) is compiled for water projects, one for sewer projects, and one for landfill projects. The approved projects are first on each list. There are other projects listed for consideration at some later date but only the approved projects should be pursued. The unapproved projects are referred to as “the wish list”.
This approval process is the first step in getting any project done. After the initial approval of a project, BCW&SA must return to Council for approval at every major step of the process. BCW&SA must receive approval to apply for the CDBG, (Community Development Block Grant) the contract for engineering and design, and the contract for the actual construction of the project. Also, every major project must be assigned to a bond. When the rules are followed, Council approval is required throughout the process. Now, let's see what the official BC documents reveal about how the Hwy. 311 water project was handled.
At the meeting of the Water and Sanitation committee on 2/10/03, there was an extensive discussion as to which proposed water projects should be approved by Council for the 2004 Capital Improvements Projects List. Many members of Council and members of staff expressed preferences as to which projects should take precedence. Mr. Steve Davis was the chairman of the Water and Sanitation committee at that time.
Supervisor Rozier stated with water projects, BCW&SA can fund about $3,700 per house; and $3,900 plus for sewer.
Mr. Hehn stated that was a break-even point.
Supervisor Rozier stated they did not take water to communities that were not surveyed about wanting water.
Mr. Jennings stated Projects 1-8 is what he proposes for water. He stated
that 9-17 are projects they have been requested to price and analyze.
The Cross Water Project containing the Hwy. 311 water line was #16 on the CIP list Mr. Jennings proposed. It was #21 of the 21 projects listed on the 2003 Capital Improvements Projects list for water projects. It was #28 on a list of 30 on the 2004 Capital Improvements Projects list. Again, the projects on the Capital Improvements Projects list that had not been approved by Council were referred to as the “wish list”.
As a result of the 2/10/03 meeting, a Special Council meeting was called for 3/06/03. At this meeting, the final list of water projects was put to a vote. The Cross Area Water Project was NOT on the list. The following excerpts from the minutes support this fact.
It was moved by Council member Spooner and seconded by Council member Fish to approve the 2004 Water Improvements in the amount of $1,760,000;Shulerville/Honeyhill, $4,200,000; Cross Schools, $3,265,000; Telemetry, $55,000; and the Sangaree Water Project, $440,000, for the total amount of $9,720,000 that would result in no increase in water rates. (pg. 2)
Council member Steve Davis offered an amendment to the motion that the following projects be included: Spier’s Circle; Swamp Fox; Umbria Road; United Drive; and Oakley Road Water Projects. (pg. 2)
Upon call for the vote on the amendment to include Spier’s Circle, $174,500; Swam Fox, $1,370,000; Umbria Road, $753,250; United Drive, $1,635,900; and Oakley Road, $350,600 for a total of $4,284,250 and a $1.84 water rate increase, the motion on the amendment failed with 6 “Nays” and 2 “Ayes.” (pg. 8)
It was moved by Council member Steve Davis that East Church Street Water Project, $651,500; McCrae Drive, $189,200; Alvin Water Project, $1,160,000 for a total of $2,000,700 for a water rate increase of $.86 be included with Council member Spooner’s motion; seconded by Council member Pinckney. (pg.8)
The vote on the second amendment to include East Church Street Water Project, $651,500; McCrae Drive, $189,200; Alvin Water Project, $1,160,000 for a total of $2,000,700 for a water rate increase of $.86 the motion failed with 6 “Nays” and 2“Ayes.”
The vote to approve the Projects included in Council member Spooner’s motion,which were the 2004 Water Improvements in the amount of $1,760,000; Shulerville/Honeyhill, $4,200,000; Cross Schools, $3,265,000; Telemetry, $55,000; and the Sangaree Water Project, $440,000, for the total amount of $9,720,000 that would result in no increase in water rates passed by unanimous voice vote of Council. (A copy of the motion with the prepared list of Water projects is attached hereto and by reference is made a part hereof.) (pg. 9)
The Cross Area Water Project was NOT approved by Council in 2003. The Cross Area Water Project, containing the Hwy. 311 water line, remained on the Capital Improvements Projects List until 2005. Every year, it was at or near the bottom of the “wish list”. After 2005, the Hwy 311 Water Line Project is not mentioned in the County Council records. The Hwy. 311 Water Line Project was not mentioned in the 2005 Bond Issue. It was not mentioned in any of the subsequent Capital Improvements Projects lists. It was not mentioned in any of the BCW&SA budgets. It was not mentioned when the $2,240,738.29 contract with McMahon for the Cross Area Water Project was presented to the Public Works and Purchasing Committee in April, 2008. Mr. Caldwell Pinckney, then chairman of the Water & Sanitation Committee, moved to approve the contract. It was not mentioned when this same contract was presented to the full Council for approval later in April, 2008. However, the Hwy 311 Water Line was included in the contract text, a document that was not made available to Council before or after the vote. The first time the Hwy. 311 Water Line Project became public was when McMahon began putting the pipe in the ground.
When the residents of Hwy. 311 and those in Cross proper received letters from BCW&SA advising them of the mandatory tap-in requirements, there was a thunder of protests. These taxpayers banded together and flooded the Council chamber at the 6/22/09 Regular Council meeting. The main complaint of these taxpayers was that they were never asked if they wanted or needed this water line. The second complaint was that they were being forced to tap into the line. The third complaint was concerning the expense of connecting to the water line. The fourth complaint was the fact that there were so few possible tap-ins that water would have to be wasted by dumping it in the ditches to keep the water in the line drinkable. All agreed this would be a terrible waste of taxpayer money.
BCW&SA had its troops assembled and ready to try to defend its actions but their statements did not always agree with the official County Council minutes. Similarly, Mr. Jennings' and Mr. Miley's statements did not always agree.
Mr. Jennings stated that there were several projects dealing with the Cross Area in getting water to the Cross schools. There was no formal community-wide survey of interest. There were substantial and repeated conversations with County Council. In mid-2000, BCWS sold two very significant bond issues to undertake a number of water and sewer projects. The Council in office at that time was briefed in great detail and understood what projects were going to be constructed, where the lines were going and where the money was coming from. (pg. 21)
Mr. Pinckney's choice of words did not exactly reflect those of a person who had no vested interest in this project. Also, if there are so many people who cannot afford deep wells, ($4000 piped to the house) how will they afford the tap-in fees, the hydrant fee, the cost of running pipe from the road to their houses, and the cost of plumbing their houses to accommodate the increased pressure of public water service, when there are no grants for Hwy. 311?
There are citizens who do not need the water, because they have deep wells. It is good that those citizens have been blessed with the ability to afford those wells, but there are a lot of people that cannot afford a well and desperately need it. (pg. 17)
Council Member Callanan questioned if the Cross Area Water Project was several projects together.
Mr. Miley responded that the Cross Area Water Project is one project, designed and constructed together with multiple roads. Highway 311 was one of the roads the waterline went down. (pg. 6)
Council Member Callanan stated that he was elected to Council in 2007. The list Council Member Callanan had did not show Highway 311 on it. Council Member Callanan questioned if Highway 311 was a major component in the Cross Area Water Project.
Mr. Miley responded that to be correct.
Council Member Callanan questioned why Highway 311 was not on the list.
Mr. Miley responded that he did not know why it was not on the list.
Council Member Callanan questioned if there was an effort to have a waterline from
Holly Hill to Lake Marion.
Mr. Miley responded that to be correct.
Council Member Callanan questioned if that waterline came down from Holly Hill,
reached Highway 176 and touched toward the end of Highway 311.
Mr. Miley responded that to be correct.
Council Member Callanan stated that it would have been more economically feasible to tie Highway 311 into that once it was in place, because it would be financed by grants.
Mr. Miley stated that the grant project, which was moving forward at this time with the Lake Marion Project, is scoped to install a booster pump station at the intersection of Highways 311 and 176. It also included a second feed up Highway 311 to make that connection there. (pg. 22)
Council Member Callanan questioned if the County applied for grants for the Highway 311 project.
Mr. Rogers responded that several requests for grants were submitted. Highway 311 was in part of the overall project. Grants were applied for, but grants were not received.
Council Member Callanan questioned how it is determined who gets funds and who does not?
Mr. Rogers responded that the state would require BCWS to have a project which BCWS designated as a grant applicant. At least 51 percent of the entire project would need to be low to moderate income in order to be competitive for a grant. (CDBG) Every single road within that project would have to be at least 51 percent for that particular road from the grant project. Mr. Rogers continued and stated that a CDBG was not applied for Highway 311.
Council Member Callanan asked why a grant was not applied for that work.
Mr. Rogers responded that three grants had already been secured in Cross, and BCWS had to address other parts of the County.
Well, Mr. Rogers, were grants for Hwy. 311 applied for or not? In fact, of the CDBG awards to BC in the last five years, only two were for Cross, one for the Cross Water Line in the amount of $412,633 and one for the Northern Cross Water Line in the amount of $673,893. If Mr. Roger's explanation of which projects qualify for CDBG assistance, and the Cross Area Water Project is one big project, as Mr. Miley responded to Mr. Callanan's question on page 6, how did some of the roads named in this project end up listed on the CDBG report supplied by COG as receiving grant money? CDBGs are project specific and non transferable. If we were members of COG, we would be checking into where all this grant money is going. And why did Mr. Martin make the following statement?
The original budget for the Cross Area Water Project was $3.8 million. A CDBG grant
for $1.5 million was utilized for completion of the project for a savings of $795,620.
(Water & Sanitation meeting 5/18/09 pg. 6)
If we could be so bold as to ask just one more question, why, when the taxpayers complained about the Hwy 311 water line costing almost $2 ¼ million, did Mr. Miley argue so vigorously that that sum was the cost of the entire Cross Area Water Project?
(Regular Council meeting 6/22/09 pgs. 18 & 19)
Council Member Fish stated that he had a copy of every budget from 2004. In the 2004 budget, Council identified a wish list. Some of the Cross Area was #28, and on that list, Highway 311 appeared. It also appeared in the subsequent year of 2005. At that time, Council Member Fish stated that it was his recollection that it was talked about, as information came out with regard to the Cross Water Project. Highway 311 would be fed when the lines came back down Highway 176 and then onto Highway 311, because it was not economically feasible to place a waterline on Highway 311 until it was time for the Lake Marion Water Project. From budgets 2005 and on, the list was the same except that Highway 311 came off that list. It never appeared again after 2005. Council Member Fish stated that he did not know how Highway 311 got back on the list.
(Water & Sanitation meeting 6/22/09 pg.24)
Chairman Daniel Davis stated that all questions would be answered upon completion of the external audit of BCWS. This project was started in 2003. The project had been engineered and ready long before January 2007 when he took office. The previous Council had approved that project all along the way.
(Water & Sanitation meeting 6/22/09 pg. 24)
Anyone who can read and comprehend the English language will know that the Hwy. 311 Water Project was never approved by Council.
Any person who claims any intellectual integrity will see the Hwy. 311 Water Project for what it is, a behind the barn door political payoff. The County Council minutes are full of contradictions as BCW&SA spokespeople try to justify this expenditure. At least 6 County Councilmen,who were on Council in 2003, clearly indicate they were not aware that the project was under consideration and they would never have voted to approve it.
Early in 2009, several councilmen called for an audit of the Hwy. 311 Water Project. The scope of their inquiry is narrow. They want to know when the Hwy. 311 Water Project was approved. They want to know who approved it. And they want to know where the money came from to pay for it. By some strange coincidence, Mr. Dan Davis ended up on the audit committee. He proceeded to add areas of inquiry to the audit that have absolutely nothing to do with the Hwy. 311 Water Project. All together, now.....”SMOKE SCREEN”.
The audit was originally supposed to be completed by June 2009. Well, in June it was discovered that, purely by accident mind you, somebody had forgotten to send the letter of engagement to the auditor. Ooops, delay. As a result, the audit couldn't be completed until August or September. Then, at the 6/22/09 Council meeting, the Supervisor let it slip that he hoped the audit would be completed by the end of the year. He probably got a complete update on the audit's scheduling during his two hour closed door meeting with the auditor. By the way, the signed letter of engagement lay around the county office building for another month before it went out. Ooops, another delay.
Is there any chance that this audit is so involved and complicated that it may not be completed until after the 2010 primary?
The facts are there in the public records for all to see. No amount of creative explanations, no amount of denials, and no amount of down right lies will change the truth. And, the truth is that the Hwy 311 Water Line Project was never approved by Council. The taxpayers are on the hook for this project in the amount of $2,240,738.29 because the pipes are in the ground. But, the citizens of Berkeley County deserve to know who is responsible for this fraud.
At least it's not like this fraudulent project is unique. GE&P is in the process of gathering documentation on two other BCW&SA water projects that are equally egregious.
UPDATE: GE&P has learned that 28 households have tapped into the Hwy 311 water line. Is it not a coincidence that there are, also, 28 houses in Pinckneyville? Remember, this water line requires a minimum of 400 tap-ins to operate efficiently. Is it another coincidence that a dump timer has been installed on the hydrant at the end of the water line just past Mr. Pinckney's house? You don't suppose BCW&SA plans to dump water in the woods, do you?
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
GE&P realizes that taxes are a necessary evil to run a county as large as Berkeley, or any county, for that matter. BUT, when government waste and abuse comes to light, the taxpayers must be made aware. We are the government so we must keep our leaders' feet to the fire.
That brings us to the new questions that GE&P will be addressing for the foreseeable future:
"Why is Berkeley County Water and Sanitation Authority installing water lines without the benefit of feasibility studies?"
"Why is Berkeley County Water and Sanitation Authority installing water lines at a cost that will take 60 years to recoup?"
"Why did the Berkeley County Water and Sanitation Authority spend $2.4 million to install a 7.1 mile water line that terminated on the front door step of a County Councilman who, at the time, just coincidentally, happened to be the chairman of the Water and Sanitation Committee on County Council?"
GE&P has done some research and is in possession of some very interesting documents pertaining to these questions. We will provide these documents and other information concerning this subject matter. Stay tuned.
Monday, March 30, 2009
We had occasion to be West of the Ashley last week. Naturally, lunch time rolled around with no plan in place. Upon suggestion from one in the group, we decided to try a new place, THE GLASS ONION on Savannah Highway.
Upon driving up in front, we were not immediately impressed but, having learned early on that one cannot judge an eating establishment by it's cover, we forged onward. Thank Goodness we did.
Under the roof of this rather utilitarian eatery, we found an unexpected treat. The food was unusual and wonderful. In case you don't know it, the best test of whether the "home cooking" sign is telling the truth is the quality of the grits. The Glass Onion passed with flying colors. From the oyster po' boy around the table to the breakfast fare, everything was perfectly prepared and delicious.
So, the next time you are in the area, give it a try. http://www.ilovetheglassonion.com
Thursday, March 26, 2009
GE&P is sooooo confused. We are simply brimming with questions.
Did not this Make-Up meeting already take place on March 19, 2009?
Why would there be another Make-up meeting scheduled?
Why would the folks with questions be instructed to call Party Headquarters instead of the Berkeley County Chairman, Wade Arnette?
Is it in any way possible that the BCGOP leadership has, finally, stepped too far over the line?
Could it be that their total disregard of SC Code of Law and SCGOP Rules has become too blatant to ignore?
Is it remotely possible that State has moved in and taken over the whole process?
I know you locals have heard the expression "Grinnin' like a 'possom eatin' 'simmons"?
Well then, lets all sing together:
Possom in the simmon tree
Raccoon on the ground.
Raccoon says, "You son of a gun,
Throw them simmons down".
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
We had occasion to drive through that area last night when we were traveling from Moncks Corner to Holly Hill. There was a mini van full of people ahead of us as we pulled up to the stop sign at Ranger Drive. We could see the lights of a vehicle approaching from the right. Judging from the distance of the headlights, it appeared there was plenty of time for the mini van to pull across the wide intersection and negotiate itself into the right lane to prepare to make it's turn onto Hwy. 311. We only have to assume the driver of the mini van came to the same erroneous conclusion.
As we sat at the stop sign, a really scary scene unfolded before us. The mini van pulled into the intersection. The driver had only just straightened his vehicle into the right lane when the vehicle approaching from the right was on top of him. The approaching vehicle, a large raggy looking pickup truck was, conservatively speaking, doing 60 MPH. Realizing the mini van was in his path, the driver of the pickup swerved to the left and into the dividing area in the center of the intersection. Accompaning the sound of the skidding tires was a large cloud of dust and smoke. As most experienced drivers know, when you combine a high rate of speed with a sudden change of direction, the results are not always positive.
On this occasion, by the grace of God, no one was killed. The driver of the pickup regained control of his vehicle and proceeded onto Mudville Road, without even slowing down. When experiencing a scene like this, one cannot help but wonder, "what if". What if the driver of the pickup had not regained control? What if the driver of the mini van had not managed to get completely into the right lane in time? What if there was another car coming from Hwy. 311 toward Moncks Corner trying to negotiate the intersection at the same time? None of these scenarios are beyond the realm of possibilities or even probabilities.
I hope the folks in the mini van pay the preacher a little something extra this week.
Monday, March 23, 2009
The County Chairman, Wade Arnette, opened the meeting and immediately turned the proceedings over to State Executive Committeeman, Wayland Moody. Mr. Moody went to great lengths to explain to those assembled that the activity of the meeting would be restricted. He made it clear that no Precinct officers were to be elected and no other Precinct business was to be conducted with the exception of adding delegates to the Precinct packets. These additions could be made unless the delegate slates for particular precincts were already full. After these announcements, the problems began.
RULE: A Precinct Reorganization Make-Up Meeting is just that. It is an extension of the original Precinct Meeting and held for the purpose of completing business unfinished at the original meeting and giving those who were unable to attend the original meeting an opportunity to participate in the process. But, these are only the Rules and we all know how important the Rules are to the present leadership of the BCGOP.
Several of the folks protested this agenda by quoting the Rules but Mr. Moody insisted, "Well, that's the way it's going to be tonight."
Two members of Hanahan 1 Precinct said they wanted to add delegates to their slate. Mr. Moody told them that would be impossible because the slate was full. ( Mr. Moody imparted this information without looking at the documents in their packet.) These gentlemen advised Mr. Moody that, in fact, no delegates had been elected at their original meeting. Mr. Moody advised the men that a committee had been chosen to "appoint" the delegates from Hanahan 1. The men said there had been no committee chosen at their original meeting and they wanted to add their delegates. Mr. Moody repeated that the delegate slate was full. The men asked to examine the contents of their Precinct packet. They were refused access.
A member of the Whitesville Precinct Club requested her packet so she could conclude her reorganization business. This lady is the Secretary of her Club and there were none of the other officers from her Precinct present at the meeting. Mr. Moody refused to give her the packet saying the Precinct was already organized and she was not an officer. She showed Mr. Moody a copy of her Form B, which lists the officers of her Club. There, as plain as day, was her name listed as Secretary. Still, Mr. Moody refused to relinquish the packet. He told her she could fill out any additional Form A's she wanted for delegates and he would add them to the packet for her but she could not take possession of the documents already in the packet. She pointed out to Mr. Moody that the documents in the packet did not contain her signature as Secretary, as the Rules dictate. Mr. Moody suggested he would be happy to hold the documents for her as she signed them but she would not be allowed to hold or review any of the documents already in the packet. She didn't go for it and continued insisting on being given the packet. It was only after an extended exchange between the two and the support of others who were listening, that Mr. Moody finally gave her the packet.
A Berkeley County Councilman tried to submit his Form A's for Stratford 2 delegates only to be told his delegate slate was, also, full. He was refused access to his Precinct packet by Mr. Moody. After relating his experience to others at the meeting, he was advised to return to Mr. Moody and insist on being given access to the packet. He did so. Upon review of the documents in his packet, he found that only four of the 22 delegates listed had actually attended his Precinct meeting. He was never told that, when it comes to being elected delegates, folks who attend the meetings in person have priority over the ones who only send in a Form A . Also, he found a Form A from another Precinct in his packet. Golly Gee! How did that happen, Roberta? In 2007, GE&P suggested that old age might be slipping up on you when you allowed a vote at the County Convention and the total number of votes cast added up to a larger number than the total number of registered delegates. Sloppy, very sloppy.
Here are some more of those pesky Rules. The Secretary of the BCGOP is bound by Law to record, with the Clerk of Court and prior to the county convention, the names of the Precinct officers. Also, it is her legal duty to compile the roll of delegates to the county convention. There is no way for her to perform these duties if she doesn't have access to the documents contained in the Precinct packets. She was denied this access.
In an effort toward full disclosure, GE&P has to admit there was one really funny thing that happened at this meeting. Mr. Moody said that anyone who wished, could make copies of the documents contained in his/her own Precinct packet and was welcome to do so. But, he would not allow anyone to make copies of all the documents contained in all the Precinct packets. He insisted that he was going to FedEx the packets to Party Headquarters the following day, Friday. He said it was the duty of Party Headquarters to compile the certified delegate list for the county convention from the documents in the packets and he didn't want two different lists "floating around". Now, let's analyze that statement just a bit. If our Secretary makes a copy of all the documents in all the packets as they are at the end of the meeting and compiles a list, then, Mr. Moody sends these same packets containing these same documents to Party Headquarters and they compile a list, why would this result in two different lists? Hmmmmmm
In the humble opinion of GE&P, Mr. Moody and the others in the leadership may have pushed the envelope just a bit too far, and in front of too many witnesses, this time.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The supervisor, Mr. Dan Davis has a vested interest in both issues. Before January 2009, Mr. Davis did not have control of enough votes on Council to assure the issues would be resolved to his benefit so, with the assistance of Mr. Caldwell Pinckney, Jr., action on these issues was repeatedly postponed. The strategy was quite simple; postpone any final decision on these issues until the new member of Council, Mr. Bob Call, took his seat. From various newspaper articles and comments made by Mr. Call in response to P&C articles, this eventuality would provide a sure vote in support of Mr. Davis' positions. Completing this scenario included maintaining the support of Mr. Pinckney and Mr. Steve Davis. The only mountain left to climb was to get the support of one of the Republican members of Council. This mountain turned into a speed bump as Mr. Jack Schurlknight readily set aside his devotion to Republican principles and literally galloped to the minority side.
Historically, every two years, the first January meeting of Council is reserved for reorganization of the body. During this meeting, a new Vice-Chairman is elected and the new Council Rules adopted. There was a great deal of confusion about the reorganization meeting this year. The traditional scheduling of the meeting was changed by Mr. Davis after it was learned that one of his supporters could not attend. After all, with all the finagling that had gone into this plan, one could not stand by and watch it go up in smoke simply due to a scheduling error.
Consequently, a new date was set for the meeting; Mr. Dan Davis' supporters (Mr. Pinckney, Mr. Call, Mr. Steve Davis, and Mr. Schurlknight )did their jobs; and, for the first time in memory, a member of the minority party ( a Democrat )was elected Vice-Chairman. Mr. Pinckney was elated and Mr. Shurlknight was reviled. It appeared Mr. Davis had achieved his goal. The vote on Council was split 4/4. The Chairman, Mr. Davis, was called upon to break the tie. As a result, the final decision of Council fell to Mr. Dan Davis. Wasn't that convenient?
Fast forward to the meeting of March 16. The issues of the vehicle policy and the Council Rules had been repeatedly postponed since January. Many on Council had lost patience and decided these issues had to be addressed. During discussion of the vehicle policy, Mr. Dan Davis indicated that he may be able to eliminate 35 vehicles from the total. Mr. Shurlknight insisted that the cars for the Sheriff's office and those for elected officials should not be touched. Mr. Pinckney agreed. Mr. Fish, Mrs. Davis, and Mr. Callanan propsed that the new policy should be county wide and the only exemptions should be for emergency and law enforcement vehicles. Just when it appeared that Council would face another 4/4 tie, Mr. Steve Davis experienced an epiphany when he learned that BC taxpayers are paying for the gas used by county employees who are provided with the use of a take home vehicle. This was the deal breaker. The non-emergency take home vehicle proponants seem to have lost a supporter. Three cheers for Steve Davis and the BC taxpayers.
During the discussion of Council Rules, two issues appeared to be of great importance to Mr. Pinckney. Mr. Pinckney wanted a provision included in the Rules that would assure the position of Vice-Chairman would be guaranteed to the most senior member of Council. After it was pointed out by other Council members that there would be several flaws in the application of such a policy, the provision was rejected.
The second issue that seemed important to Mr. Pinckney was the Rule concerning the office of Clerk of Council. GE&P has neglected to obtain a copy of the exact verbage of this Rule but it is our understanding that the existing Rule states that the Clerk of Council serves at the pleasure of the Vice-Chairman of Council. Several members of Council wanted to change this Rule to require a 2/3 vote to remove the Clerk of Council. Mr. Pinckney argued vigorously against any such change. Mr. Steve Davis, once again, provided the voice of reason. He pointed out that a 2/3 vote is required if Council wishes to fire any other county employee so why should the position of Clerk of Council be handled any differently? Then, Mr. Steve Davis went on to make some very positive and flattering remarks about the present Clerk of Council. This seemed to put the issue to rest. GE&P would be very curious to know why Mr. Pinckney was so adamant about keeping this existing Rule.
Although these decisions sound very positive and beneficial to the taxpayers of BC, don't count your chickens quite yet. None of this is etched in stone until the official votes are taken at the next regular Council meeting. GE&P could be wrong but could it be possible that Mr. Steve Davis might like to hear a little support on these issues?