What A Mess!
Just when you think things cannot get worse, along comes something to show how wrong you are.
What in the world has happened to our election process in Dillon County? First we get some exceptionally “qualified people” to oppose certain very “unqualified incumbents” and all of a sudden the “qualified people” are not “qualified candidates”. After that the “unqualified person in charge” of the process says that the “unqualified incumbents” are also not “qualified candidates” and threw them out of the election but about an hour later the “unqualified person in charge” decided that the “unqualified incumbents” were once again “qualified candidates”. Got all that? We must be in Dillon County. What happened?
1. The “unqualified person in charge” is also a Dillon County employee who happens to be in charge of a department. His screw up has probably given his cronies on County Council a free pass in the primary and perhaps in the general election. Remember that these “unqualified incumbents” are the same people who determine his salary. Wonder if the “unqualified incumbents” will be in favor of raising the salary of the “unqualified person in charge”?
2. This whole mess resulted from improper filing of the ethics report required of candidates, elected officials, judges, county administrators and many other people who receive public salaries. The “unqualified person in charge”, failed to inform the “qualified candidates”that they were suppose to present to him a paper copy of the ethics report at the same time that they filed there certificate of candidacy and, as a result, they were deemed “unqualified” by the South Carolina Supreme Court. The incumbents did not have the same requirement of submitting a paper copy of their ethics report when they filed. They didn’t even have to file the report until April 15. What the Council Incumbents did however was to have a county employee file their reports for them. Yes, they, or at least most of them, directed a county employee to submit the forms for them. Is this not a direct violation of the Judge’s Order? Wonder if they will self report the violation?
Wonder if they reported the value of this service on their ethics report? What irony—they violate a state statute and an order of the court in filing an ethics report. Talk about in your face. Did Council make this service available to the challengers or did they just get this service for themselves? I know the answer to this one. It was never offered to anyone else. So County Council members have a county employee file their ethics reports and then have “qualified candidates” thrown off the ballot because they didn’t properly file their ethics reports.
What can we do? Probably nothing in regards to the primary to be held on June 12. However what we can do is encourage the “qualified candidates” to gather sufficient names on petitions so that they can get on the ballot in November. This will certainly be a challenge as it is difficult for a “Petition Candidate” to win an election since many voters vote a straight ticket. When they do this they vote for the candidates of the party and “Petition Candidates” are not candidates of any party. It will be a tough job but it can be done. Here’s hoping they will try.
Just another day in Dillon County.
We also had some very qualified incumbents in other offices and they appear to be safe through the primary.
Charles E. Curry,
Dillon, SC 29536