The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance
Shrimp 'n Grits
Please! Please! Not Another Pericles!Lee Walton
Of all the things needed in Charleston County, the absolute last thing is for voters to be duped by Mayor J. Pericles Riley and his Palter and Chatter cronies into creating another parallel imperial reign, or, more likely, a subservient puppet poltroon handpicked by Pericles to govern. Ever since the Justice Department won out and forced single-member districts upon County government, the editorial staff and behind the scenes owners of the Palter and Chatter have been pitching a "hissy fit" to put their own chosen disciple in charge of County Council. They just can't stand the thought of nine equally powerful council members, elected by the citizens of nine separate districts, governing the affairs of Charleston County. To the editors of the Palter and Chatter, this must be just one short step from total anarchy.
Title 4, Chapter 9 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina allows five separate forms of county government; Charleston County currently operates under the "Council-Administrator" form as described in Article 7. Each year, as provided in Section 4-9-110 of the Code, County Council selects one of its own as chairman to act as spokesperson and preside over its meetings; Council also employs a Chief Administrative Officer to run the day-to day affairs of county government except for Public Safety which, fortunately for the citizens of Charleston County, is managed very well by independently elected Sheriff Al The Cannon.
Of the other four forms of county government allowed by the State Code, two, the "Council" form under Article 3 and the "Board of Commissioners" form under Article 11, are more suitable for smaller, rural counties requiring a less complex and less expensive form of government. Berkeley County initially operated under the "Board Of Commissioners" form before switching several years ago to the 'Council-Supervisor" form defined under Article 5 which it still retains today; more about the "Council-Supervisor" form later. The remaining "Council-Manager" form under Article 9 is not unlike Charleston County's "Council-Administrator" structure; both have professional, hired Chief Administrative Officers that report to and serve at the pleasure of Council.
Apparently, the Palter and Chatter thinks that the current Mystical Nine, having been elected to represent single-member districts, are infected by some contagious malady called parochialism that renders them incapable of reaching a collective legislative decision without a grand leader chosen at-large by the entire county electorate. Heaven forbid that nine independently elected council members might actually have the collective intelligence and wisdom to effectively govern the County without the influence and intimidation of Pericles or the Palter and Chatter editors.
What's really strange is that some of the current Council's same members were brilliant, independent leaders when elected at-large by a county-wide constituency, but now these same members of the Mystical Nine, including Napo-Leon Stabyourbackus and Pericles' Savior, Ed Fava, can't be trusted to cooperate for the collective good of the County as a whole, but will be mysteriously forced to bring all the bacon home to their own districts. This typical, all-knowing and condescending attitude of the Palter and Chatter doesn't give much credit to either the current members of Council or the voters that elected them.
What are the Palter and Chatter and Pericles fearful of? Might someone actually get elected that isn't a hand picked, endorsed poltroon of the imperial court of Pericles? Why, when applied to Pericles' handpicked City Council of quivering sycophants, are single-member districts the greatest things since "canned beer", but totally inappropriate for County Government?
Apparently, the Palter and Chatter wants the best of both worlds. They have danced all around the only form of county government that allows a single-member district council with a leader elected countywide - the "Council-Supervisor" form now utilized by Berkeley County. This form is also the closest of the five allowed by State Code to the strong mayor-weak council form of municipal government that has allowed the thirty-year imperial reign of Pericles. If this is what the Palter and Chatter wants, why not say so? Why do they want to create some weird hybrid form of county government that cherry-picks from all but skirts around those only allowable by State Code?
If a countywide elected leader is needed to ride herd on the Mystical Nine, what powers will be delegated to that office? Will this all-powerful leader be the Chief Executive Officer of the County with the unilateral powers of Pericles to handpick a staff totally subservient and obligated to serve at only his or her pleasure? This perilous course of action is fraught with political intrigue and danger to the citizens and electorate of Charleston County. Better that we know what we have and keep it even if inaction or stalemate is sometimes the outcome.
Be careful what you wish for -those that govern least govern best!