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  • Writer's pictureJoey Russo

Open up the toolbox..

Making choices to appoint representatives to County Boards and Commissions has been an interesting undertaking as a first time councilman. While applications come in for the various positions it is incumbent on the individual council members to do "homework" on the candidates and in many cases the candidate will reach out directly to introduce themselves. I believe it would behoove the Council and Greenville as a whole to formalize more in-depth interviews to ensure we are making informed decisions. Currently either COW (Committee of the Whole) or smaller standing committees listen to the pitches from each candidate and then vote for who they choose put forward as the nominee. In the full County Council we vote to either affirm the nomination or any member can make a separate nomination.

The headliner by a long shot has been the single open position on our Greenville County Library Board. As a member of the RIP Committee (Roads, Infrastructure, Public Works), I was fortunate enough to listen to all candidates in person. Specifically in light of controversial books that have been brought to public attention, and a new policy to bring evaluation of the placement of said books under the Board's responsibility (away from hired staff). This is an important designation since the controversies stemming from the Library are the result of staff members using their positions for personal agendas. After the candidate I voted for did not receive enough votes in Committee, the individual who won the nomination got called in to question. I strongly disapprove of bully tactics employed to malign a person's character, which were employed on all fronts. I firmly believe in thoughtful debate, and communicating a viewpoint from a position of reason, not hyperbole. There's a time and a place for heated discussion absolutely. However, far too often people seem to employ one "tool" to get a solution when it would better fit to review the "toolbox" to see what is most appropriate for the task at hand.

All boards and commissions are extensions of elected office, the majority of us on County Council were elected to stand for Christian conservative values. I stand by the decision to not affirm the original nominee, instead opening up nominations to the full field of candidates resulting in the nomination of Mr. Gene Beckner. I am confident he will be a valuable member of the Board. I like to look at solutions as a project; it requires tools, material, and labor. If you think you're going to finish every project with one without the others you're much more likely to end up with a mess instead of a quality finished product. As we move on from this we have a lot of tasks on the horizon and I am eager and urge my colleagues on Council and the community as a whole to open up the tool box and choose wisely. I am still confident the best days for District 17 and Greenville County are still ahead!

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