Thursday, November 7, 2013
In the week now ending, our city has concluded what must forever be remembered as the most bizarre election ever to be held here. Yes, we reelected a mayor and a member of council, and swept in two newcomers to boot. All of that has happened before, but this is different — in recent days our electorate was saturated with multiple messages from parties unknown, in print and by mail, all declaring one candidate or another inept, one candidate or another our potential savior, one candidate or another ineffective. The only problem with all of that is the most obvious fact that we do not know who those folks are or what they want. (A stranger suggested that the payday loan industry was a backer, while another thought the gambling cruise ships such as found at Little River wanted to secure the Harborwalk as a place to berth, making day-long cruises into the Atlantic for casino gambling a part of Georgetown's tourist appeal. All such speculations, so far as I know, are just that — speculations with no basis in fact.)
Now, several names have been mentioned on Front Street, including old and dear friends of mine. Money spent has been pegged at thirty thousand, forty thousand, and lately fifty one-thousand dollars — all for a municipal election in a small town. In total, all that we are really sure of is that one or more groups got together to make a change and have succeeded in doing just that. So be it.
That said, we should be concerned enough to ask Concerned Families of Georgetown “Who are you and how much did each of you contribute?” We should inquire to Progress for Georgetown “What do you want for your money? Specifically, why did you organize in the first place?”
Understanding that groups seldom make large contributions for “good government” without expecting something in return, let us hope that all who will rule our city will remember their obligations to the citizenry. With a vote in a small election now worth thirty or fifty dollars each, I trust that it is not too obvious to assert that our city will never be for sale to the highest bidder.
Barry A. Price
Georgetown Following Ard's footsteps
During her tenure on [Georgetown City] Council, Jeanette Ard was steadfast in her insistence that all major purchases of goods and services by the City be made through the competitive bidding process rather than by way of so-called “single source” contracts. As a result, City taxpayers have saved about a million dollars a year in cost of health insurance for its employees. Substantial savings have also resulted in the cost of workers' compensation coverage for those workers.
Most recently, the City announced that it will save about a million per year in the wholesale price of electricity it purchases from Santee Cooper, all because the City stuck to the competitive bidding process rather than blindly sign on to the utility's first offer. Had she been reelected, Ms. Ard was prepared to call for competitive bidding when the City's liability insurance coverage comes up for renewal too. Hopefully the newly-elected members of Council will follow Ms. Ard's footsteps on this issue and insist that the City take bids from private industry before choosing where to buy this historically (and perhaps overly) expensive coverage, earning their place at the governing table as a result.
Meanwhile, Ms. Ard's excellent representation of all Georgetown's residents deserves special recognition and the thanks of all. That gratitude can best be shown with kind words and encouragement as she returns to private life and rebuilds her home and business, both of which were destroyed in the recent fire on Front Street.
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