The Last Vote

The Last Vote

Dear Editor:
I never cease to be amazed at some of the things that go on in Dillon County. Following are the official minutes of the June 5, 2012, Dillon County Fire Station One meeting:
“After the meal, the Chief indicated that it was time to vote for the slate of officers for 2012-13 year. At this time, the men were instructed to vote for the position of Fire Chief. All men were provided a paper and pencil by Fireman Art Quick on which to vote.
After all votes were counted, the vote was announced–10 votes for D. J. Williams and 9 votes for Bobby Lee Thompson. Upon the announcement of the election results, Fireman Douglas Pernell told Chief Bobby Lee Thompson to hold up because he had not counted Fireman Macio Williamson’s vote. He then indicated that he had visited Fireman Macio Williamson in the local hospital and Mr. Williamson had instructed him to vote for him to leave all officers as is. When all votes were included–one from every man–the election results for Fire Chief was 10 to 10.”
The minutes go on to state that the vote would be tabled until June 19 when another meeting would be held. My friend and mentor, “Son” Kinon, when he was serving as Solicitor for Dillon County used to say “never let the sun go down on a jury in Dillon County.” That is, if the jury went home overnight there was a good chance of some hanky panky. I suppose this saying would also apply to Fire Chief elections at Station One. On June 19 when the next election was held, the vote was a clear majority for Bobby Lee Thompson.
There was an attempt by a number of the firemen to amend the minutes to reflect what they say actually happened at the June 5 meeting. Those proposed minutes indicate that after the votes were in the Secretary counted them and announced the vote as a tie at 9 to 9. When someone questioned how that could be as there were 19 firemen present, another count was made and the vote was actually 10 for D. J. Williams to 9 for Bobby Lee Thompson. Mr. Thompson then congratulated Mr. Williams and nominations were begun for assistant Chief.
Fireman Charlie Bailey was then nominated. As the firemen began to vote for the Assistant Chief, Fireman Douglas Pernell spoke to Bobby Lee Thompson, whereupon Bobby Lee Thompson announced that Douglas was suppose to vote for Macio and Macio wanted to vote for Bobby Lee. This amended version of the minutes was voted down and the original minutes were adopted.
To me it is immaterial which version of the minutes you wish to believe.
The bottom line is that Macio should not have been able to vote at that meeting. Those in power were so anxious to retain their power that they devised a way to win. They let a man in the hospital vote who never signed any type of proxy authorizing anyone else to vote for him. Then they let the sun set on the election. Macio’s vote from the hospital became the crucial vote that allowed Chief Bobby Lee Thompson to retain his position. I suppose this was Macio’s last vote—-but then the November General Election is coming up. Stranger things have happened in Dillon County.
The sad thing about this is that six (6) of the volunteer firemen resigned. These were not just any six(6) firemen but were volunteers who actually went to the fires. They didn’t just sign their names to the fire call sheets and receive payment from Dillon County.
They were the backbone of the volunteer fire department. They were long time volunteers with many years of experience. So now the goings on at Fire Station Number 1 have created a safety issue for the citizens of Dillon County. Who will respond when a call goes in? Who will show up to put out the fire?
The bigger question is “When will the Dillon County Council and Administrator put a stop to the manner in which business is conducted at Fire Station Number 1 ?”
Charles E. Curry
Dillon, SC

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