EDITORIAL: This sets the precedent
Now that they’ve done it, we need to watch for it.
Clinton City Council on two readings six working days apart has dissolved the Department of Public Safety. It’s something City Manager Bill Ed Cannon told them he wanted to see done when they brought him in from Florida.
The ordinance required two votes, which the council accomplished on Aug. 9 and Aug. 22. It has been extensively talked about, council members said, but never came up in a regular meeting. No public hearing was conducted.
Council meets the first Monday of each month - second Monday if the first Monday falls on a holiday which it does this September. Special called meetings are nothing new for the Clinton City Council, Mayor Bob McLean said.
If the council wants to have ONE meeting and a bunch of “called” meetings, that’s its business. Personally, we think it’s more efficient to have one, 3-hour meeting than six, 1-hour meetings, and we certainly think the one meeting concept is less taxing on the council members’ time away from work. Nothing illegal about “called” meetings.
Our concern is this: dissolving this department was accomplished in two meetings eight working days apart. Is the council now empowered to take other action this way?
A 20% tax increase - in eight working days.
A 30% electricity rate hike - in eight working days.
A 40% increase in water rates - an action which ripples throughout Laurens County’s economy - in eight working days. All accomplish-able - none illegal.
We hope this is not the case - but we know this much, we have to become extra-vigilant. We can’t “see inside” city hall, so we don’t know who is meeting with whom. One-on-one or in groups of three. We don’t even know IF council discussed this policy-changing matter Aug. 6 under the guise of “personnel” - all we know is what they do in public. And, of course, we are dedicated to keeping them “in the sunshine.”