LETTER: County oversight is important
An old cliche' comes to mind, "I can't see the trees for the forest.” Money in politics and corresponding government corruption affects all Americans. Does this money erode our democracy?
It's hard to deny lobbying has become an integral part of political deal-making in our county legislative system.
I have taken an interest in the wasteful spending of the Laurens County's taxpayers’ monies and how our shadow government has manage to dictate the spending of $600,000 or more for these few individuals’ welfare. This group has asked and received $ 90,000 of our tax dollars from the state treasury's office. They have dictated it be spent on a new EMS station on property donate by ZF Transmission. County Council has not taken the steps to reign in their assumed authority.
Allow me to point out a few of the issues that could be corrected by a vote of 4 members of the Laurens County Council. This has not occurred for several reasons. One member never shows for the votes, low oxygen level on the part of one, privatization main topic at meetings, some have little or no comprehension on the subject matter, and our chairman has a impossible task, managing this group.
We now have a county attorney who is a full time employee, first one in the history of our government. This full time employee works just three days a week (Mon., Wed. & Fri.) His salary is $100,000 plus all the extras which amount to another $20,000. Not like other employees, he is exempted from any co-payment on his insurance. He is also employed as the special counsel (attorney) to the Laurens County Development Corporation and has a active private law firm in Clinton. Who devised all this added employment? Need to terminate this wasteful expense of taxpayers’ money. Attorney should be an open bid as any other government contract!
We now have a Laurens County Economic Development Corporation, designed as a 501c non-profit corporation, which is no longer responsible to anyone other than themselves. They are no more than a self-appointed lobbyist. They operate with a budget of proximity $500,000 -- $360,000 comes off the top of the taxpayers’ fee-in-lieu- of-taxes. This is your county tax dollars. The other $140,000 is raised through selling seats on the board to other entities and etc., which in some cases are public institutions spending tax dollars. In reference to fee-in-lieu- of-taxes, Laurens County only receives 25% of what is left after everyone else takes their share!
Economic development is a windfall for the four members, who devised this scheme for their enrichment! The executive salary is $100,000, plus a $ 1,000 per month car allowance, health Insurance, which has no co-payment (they exempted themselves as the elitist of Washington). Who hired him? The chairman of the Economic Development Corporation, which was his father. The proper term is "NEPOTISM" (kinfolks in the south). They rent their office space @ $35,000/year from the Laurens County chamber of Commerce.
I'm under the impression LCEDC paid for the addition; why rent your own building, with taxpayers’ money which ends up in the chamber budget ?
I do not have the salaries of the assistant and other staff members of the LCEDC, but when I receive a response from Form 4506-A, I'll post it. I'm sure it will be informative, also.
The taxpayer could change the type of Laurens County government, or privatize it, but are not able to gather 4 votes to correct/eliminate all this lobbing money. By privatization, you would add another $200,000 (from County Council pay, travel, insurance & etc.) to the county’s check book. Just think what we could buy with another $700,000 every year -- new patrol cars, more Sheriff’s Deputies, 2 new EMS stations. Things for the taxpayers’ welfare. We deserve better! The County taxpayers don't need any Lobbyist, just clean up our swamp.