UNION — A majority of those participating in an online poll conducted by The Union Daily Times want Union County to retain its current form of government.
Union County Council voted earlier this year to approve an ordinance authorizing a referendum on changing the county’s form of government from council-supervisor to council-administrator. The referendum, which will be on the November ballot, asks:
“Shall Union County, South Carolina (the ‘County’), retain its existing form of government (the council-supervisor form of government with a county council of the County (‘County Council’) comprised of six (6) County Council members elected for four (4) year terms from single member districts and a County Supervisor elected for a four (4) year term from the County at large), or shall the County adopt the council-administrator form of government, with a County Council comprised of six (6) council members elected for four (4) year terms from single member districts and a Chairman of the County Council elected for a four (4) year term from the County at large?”
If approved, the council-administrator system would be implemented at the end of the supervisor current term on Jan. 5, 2015.
Under the council-supervisor system, the supervisor is both an elected official and the county administrator, responsible for the day-to-day operation of county government. Under the council-administrator system, the supervisor’s position is replaced by a seventh member of county council who, like the supervisor, is elected at-large and chairs council meetings, but is not responsible for the day-to-day operations of county government. Instead, the day-to-day operations of county government are the responsibility of a professional administrator hired by and responsible to county council.
The change in the system of government was proposed by businessman and Union County School Board member Manning Jeter who pointed out that only four of South Carolina’s 46 counties still have the council-supervisor system of government. Jeter said he felt the current system has failed to promote the kind of economic development will attract the industries that will generate the tax revenue the county needs and create good paying jobs that will give young people the option of retuning home to live and work after they graduate from college.
Jeter said that under the council-administrator system county council would function as CEO overseeing a professional administrator who would handle the day-to-day operations of county government. He said this system would be more effective at recruiting industry and finding new sources of revenue that would enable the county to grow.
Also calling for the county to switch from the council-supervisor system to council-administration was Carlisle Oxner, president and CEO of Arthur State Bank and a former member of the Union County Development Board.
Oxner called for the change while being presented with the State Order of the Silver Crescent in honor of his more than 20 years of service on the development board. He said that under the council-supervisor system the county risks someone being elected to the office who is not qualified to hold the position. Oxner said that as supervisor, someone who didn’t know what they were doing could cause the county a great deal of trouble. To avoid this, Oxner urged the people of Union County to approve changing the county’s form of government to council-administrator.
Jeter and Oxner’s arguments in favor of changing the county’s system of government were rejected by a majority of those who participated in an online poll conducted by The Union Daily Times.
Posted on The Union Daily Times website (www.uniondailytimes.com), the poll asked “Should Union County’s system of government be changed from council-supervisor to council-administrator?”
Of the 300 readers who participated in the poll, 56 percent said no, the system of government should not be changed, while 44 percent said yes, it should be.
This week’s online poll asks, “The recent spate of violence in Union County recently led to an anti-violence walk/rally. Should more of these events be held to mobilize the public against violence in the community?”