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Keep an eye on what the commissioners do
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I have been attending Effingham County Commissioners’ meetings for some time now. For the most part, the commissioners discuss topics of which I have little expertise and experience, and, quite frankly, interest. That reflects more on me than the commissioners and their agenda.

Lately, I have become more dismayed about what I am hearing at these meetings, particularly as the discussion revolves around the recreation committee.

The truth is there has been very little discussion; the reality is there are announcements, short and sweet, as they may be.

As the county embarks upon a major, much-needed recreation project, the commissioners have altered the make-up of the committee. First, they reduced the size of the committee from nine members to five without an adequate explanation. In the process, they terminated the services of very able committee members, men who have devoted countless hours to the benefit of the county’s youth. Why?

Second, of the remaining members, the commissioners did not re-appoint all of them, replacing them with people of their own choice. In all of this, in a couple of instances, the selections “smacked” of, if not nepotism, at least, ultra- familiarity. I can only conjecture that maybe the commissioners want even tighter control than they own currently, which is considerable. As an aside, the commissioners reduced the number of planning board members from eight to five. At one of the meetings, a staff member offered the explanation it was difficult to find eight members. Really? How hard are you trying?

I refer to my headline, “To the victor goes the spoils.” When I mentioned this story to a person I know very well, her/his reaction was “politics”!
Absolutely correct! So, by writing this letter, I am not accusing anyone of corruption. I am saying that these kind of things happen when people are allowed to govern without any comment, or even, notice. Certainly, the local newspapers provide a report on what is going on, but it is left to us, the public, to notice and inquire about what our political leaders are doing.

How? By attending the Effingham County commissioners’ meetings or, at the least, reading meeting minutes off the Web site; by writing letters to the editor about topics of concern; by serving on appointed or elected boards; by organizing politically to provide some sort of alternative thinking. Currently, the only game in town is the Republican primary. Whoever wins this primary secures a seat on the Commission! The truth is many times the Commissioners run unopposed. If that continues to be the case, similar such events will occur.

So, the message is to keep yourself informed and knowledgeable about what is going on in your county’s governance!

Anthony Chiariello