Deceiving the public

  • Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Did they lie or didn't they know?

Either way, it's inexcusable.

Did the Georgetown County Council know about Parks and Recreation Director Beth Goodale's plans to operate the Howard gym on a part-time basis, without team sports?

Did the council then deceive the children and citizens of the community by allowing them to think they were getting back the full-time, team sports gym they had lost?

Or was the council itself in the dark about Goodale's plans?

Either way, the council apparently didn't follow up after voting in May to put the gym back in the renovation plan for the Howard facility.

Instead it appeased the community, with its vote, and walked away.

Councilwoman Lillie Jean Johnson didn't bother to speak with the citizens she represents, according to them.

By not doing so, Johnson abandoned her responsibility to find out what they needed from the gym, take their case to the council and ensure the Parks and Recreation Department followed through.

That left the Parks and Recreation Department to do what it wanted, not what the community needed.

Unless, of course, Johnson and the council knew all along about Goodale's plans, and let the deception lie.

Johnson refused to answer questions from the Georgetown Times. She admitted to communicating with both Goodale and County Administrator Sel Hemingway, but declined to disclose the manner or substance of her communications.

It would appear she does not consider herself to be accountable to the people. It appears she forgets she is a public servant.

Did Johnson know of Goodale's plan to limit use of the gym and keep all sports practice and play at the Beck facility?

If she did, why did she not disclose that to the public at an Aug. 19 meeting to unveil the restored gym?

Why did Hemingway not ask Goodale to report her plan?

Was Hemingway kept in the dark as well?

Goodale noted she only acts on advice of the council.

So again, who knew? What did they know? And when did they know it?

The county should be ashamed to unveil a museum-style gymnasium and suggest that the children, parents and coaches stay behind the ropes.

It should be ashamed to admit the taxpayers are putting $3 million into the renovations of the Howard facility, but won't be allowed full use of the gym.

The truth is that the community has been deceived.

The May vote apears to have been a farce to fool the public.

It's time the council steps up and does right by not only the children but all of the county taxpayers.

It should be ashamed for deceiving the public either by lying outright or by omission.

And council members and county employees should remember for whom they work.

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