In response to the editorial posted March 14, dedicated to the dislike of myself by you, I have to disagree. I am a public servant.
A politician tells you what he believes he wants you to hear. A public servant tells you what you need to hear. I am open and will always be honest with the public and the media. I have heard from the media many times and from this newspaper from printed articles in the past about being open and honest to the media and people. Many times you have written about executive session when matters have to be carried on behind closed doors.
County Council meetings are a time for the elected members of the council and administration to come together and take care of business and concerns regarding the county. We have an agenda and address each item as it is presented. These meetings are open for the public to attend, but not to contribute unless asked. In difference to what was said in the editorial, I do care what people think about the actions that the county council is considering or has already taken. As Chairman, I do not tell other council members how to vote.
We have a time for public comment. This is not a question and answer session. The Chairman can respond if necessary.
Regarding the pipeline issue brought to council by Upstate Forever, they asked council to support their efforts to stop the pipeline. I had spoken with some of council about the topic.
In response, I was told by some of the councilmen that they were not provided with enough information from both sides on the topic to make a decision. Upstate Forever was informed of this and given the opportunity to present more in regards to the topic.
Also, in regards to the article your newspaper printed by Councilman Jones about him not having a chance to present a resolution to this situation, this was not the truth. That was a lie. Jones was presented with two opportunities to explain and present the resolution that was sent by Upstate Forever.He refused. Council drafted and signed a resolution in support of the landowners, and it was sent to the ones in charge.
Dogwood Alliance approached council many times and were always treated welcome with respect. Mr. Caime and I met privately with them. I explained to them that pine trees are mostly row crops to be harvested, and this was explained to them during this meeting.
Dr. Spatta presented the topic of animal control. She was very welcomed. She was given the chance to present her topic and suggested hiring more people and what we had to do regarding animal control and Public Works.
I never asked or quoted to her after her presentation “Why are you here” as you quoted in your newspaper. I simply saw she lived in Simpsonville, and I told her that she lived where there was plenty of money. No slight. Should I have agreed with her and told her we would, knowing the funds are not available at this time for this to happen?
We have worked many hours trying to solve problems in animal control. You said council’s less than promising response was to remove law enforcement responsibility from animal control officers. When the prior Sheriff was in office the animal control officers were certified by him.
Under the new Sheriff, he says he cannot certify them because of the liability. Our hands are tied on this subject. If law enforcement is needed animal control has to call the sheriff’s office. No one on council has so called “passed the buck” as stated by your newspaper.
If I embarrass this newspaper by being open to you and the public I am sorry that you feel that way. As Chairman I do not sugarcoat something, make promises that cannot be done, or do something in secret behind closed doors or walls, just to give them a response.
We have toward the end of each meeting, a time for each council member to say what he has or wants to say in council comments. This is a time to explain or express his or her concerns about anything he wants to say.
In my 14 years on council, I have always welcomed and greeted our citizens to our meetings. I encourage attendance.
I would close and say that I feel you should have been embarrassed by the many times you have written about people in your paper. A good saying for you is “do not do as I do, do as I say do.”
Joseph E. Wood Jr.
Chairman of Laurens County Council
District 2 Representative