Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 26, 2019

Vote NO to the change in Aiken County form of government

Oct 26, 2012

Dear Editor,

In a few days, Aiken County voters will go to the polling places to cast their votes for offices from President of the United States to the local School Board representatives. Attached to that ballot will be a question as to whether the citizens wish to give up their right to elect the Auditor and Treasurer of the County. When voting NO to the to the change in the form of government, you will continue to elect the persons you as taxpaying citizens believe will best serve you in these most important offices.

When "home rule" was passed by the legislature, the citizens of the counties were given a choice of four forms of government from which to choose by referendum. Out of forty-six (46) counties, only two counties operate under the proposed Council/Manager form; the form being pushed  by special interest to replace what has been working for Aiken County since home rule began. When the statutes are placed side by side, the only difference between the Council/Manager and the Council/Administrator form is that the Auditor and the Treasurer may be appointed or elected and the title of the administrator changes to manager. From my perspective, I can only assume members of council believe that they are more intelligent than the taxpayers who would be voting for these offices. Is this not an insult to our citizens? It brings to min the old saying, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you." --- Maybe by taking away our right to vote our convictions.

I believe that Mr. Singer gave his motive for advocating this change when he was quoted by the Aiken Standard as saying, "We have the opportunity to change the form and the political power in these two offices." If all he wants is political power, then we need to re-evaluate the offices of our county council. There is no power connected to the office of the Auditor or Treasurer. We have no ability to pass laws, ordinances or resolutions that affect you or to make decisions on how much money or why money is collected or disbursed. We have a job to do that is totally dictated by state laws.

A previous editorial in the Standard refers to a job description being written years ago for the positions of Auditor and Treasurer. The description spoken of came as a result of the Archer Salary Study and was never fully implemented by council. You need to know that the description was written from the worksheets and input of the immediate past auditor and the current treasurer. But again, I believe in the citizens of Aiken County and their ability to select the best candidates for the jobs.

I cannot say that I am happy with the way in which the election for Treasurer has evolved this year. However, there are some really good candidates that are running as write-ins. I have had the opportunity to talk to most of them and I am encouraged that qualified people are willing to step up and run for office. Voters must do their homework and decide for themselves who is the most qualified for the job. Some council members seem to be saying that the voters are not smart enough to elect the best.

What I am hearing is that council would be able to control all monies coming into the office of the Treasurer. I don't think the school board, the municipalities or the volunteer fire departments would be happy about that. The most labor intensive part of the Treasurer's office is in the collection of taxes, but that is only a small portion of the responsibilities. There are federal monies, state monies and the distribution of portions of the taxes collected, just to mention a few. This officer wears many hats. The Treasurer answers to the Comptroller General, the Department of Revenue and the State Treasurer's office. If the change of government were to be made, the only thing council could control would be the portion that belongs to the county.

You may ask why I am speaking out on this subject since I will be retiring on June 30th. I am a native of Aiken County and have spent most of my life living on property held for multiple generations by my family. I love this county and its people and I don't want our citizens to make a mistake and give up their vote because of misrepresentations.

VOTE "NO" to changing the form of government!!

 

Linda Sharpe

Wagener, SC

 

 

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.