Letters to the editor for Oct. 25
Councilman supports change of government
On Nov. 6 Aiken county citizens will make a choice on either electing the treasurer and auditor position or moving to a manager form of government where the positions will be managed under the oversight of county council and the county administrator. A majority of Council voted to put this referendum on the ballot because it was important for citizens to make this decision.
There are important issues to consider, and I want to share the thoughts that shaped my decision on this important issue. First, I want to acknowledge Linda Sharpe (Treasurer) and Cyrus Spradley (Auditor), both did a terrific job during their tenure of 20 plus years. I consider them consummate professionals with doctorate degrees in experience. Both served as home-rule was implemented in the county and grew with the challenges the county faced, as all growing governments do. Today I consider Aiken County a far different place; it's a mature, developed government that is constantly faced with complex issues and services that must be efficiently delivered across the entire county.
On Nov. 6 no one will be listed on the ballot as a candidate for treasurer and only one person for auditor. You will be denied the opportunity to evaluate the candidates properly because, quite frankly, the SC Supreme court denied those seeking office the opportunity to be put on the ballot. You will be asked to make a blind decision on who should be the next treasurer/auditor with your hands tied, or make your decision on a sign you've seen in a yard. Those elected will be responsible for as much as a half a billion dollars of taxpayer's money over the next term, quite possibly with no skills or experience.
I listened to the candidates for office last week. I was convinced that several candidates had some modicum of skills that would give them a shot at being successful. However, several candidates were clueless. The problem is that clueless could be your next treasurer. We need professionals with the requisite skills and experience to hit the ground running that have been properly vetted for their experience and education. Today to be elected to those positions you only need a high school education. And while a high school education is a good starting point, I would submit that higher skill levels are most important in those positions.
I respect the rationale for electing the positions in the early days of home-rule, but today we have a representative form of government with nine council members serving your interest. Smaller government is more efficient government, but only if you have the right people in the right places. I believe that the manager form of government will reduce unnecessary layers of government and give us the ability to select competent and skilled people for the auditor and treasurer position while still providing the citizens with the oversight of nine elected representatives. For those reasons I intend to vote for the referendum moving the county to a manager form of government.Chuck Smith, District 4
Aiken County Council
Favors Thompson for probate judge
I support Jane Page Thompson for probate judge. I am a Realtor, who has come to know Jane Page as a person who represents the people of Aiken County.
She has always come forward to stand up for the injustice of a limited few controlling the rest. She will step forward when others are afraid to speak out; she is smart, she is knowledgeable, she is a hard worker, she is ethical, she has experience in all fields of real estate, which she would apply to the office of probate judge.
Jane Page will always look out for the welfare of the people of Aiken County.
She would take the office of probate judge, energize and modernize the system to the advantage of the people of Aiken County.
Please vote for an exceptional person and leader, Jane Page Thompson, probate judge.Paula Z. Blessing
No reason not to vote for Thompson
I have been following the candidate race for probate judge closely. I don't know either candidate personally. However, I don't believe there has been any real reason for JP Thompson not to run against the incumbent, Sue Roe. Why? Judge Roe has been in office for at least 24 years without anyone challenging her, in her own words. So, why be astounded that someone is taking up the challenge? Ms. Thompson is merely exercising her right to run on fresh new ideas and by stating the obvious that the office is not truly owned by any candidate. An elected official in any capacity should realize that someone may run against them at some point. Those who have written to the paper in support of Judge Roe haven't convinced me that Ms. Thompson is a bad person or does not have the experience to hold this office. Ms. Thompson has also received endorsements of highly-respected officials in government, Congressmen Jeff Duncan and Joe Wilson and many of her peers. Also, Ms. Thompson has commented at some point that there are only several qualifications to run for probate judge. I checked into that statement and found that to be true in SC Law at http://provencemesservy.com/SCProbateLawyer/2010/05/want-to-be-a-probate-judge/. They include being a U.S. citizen of legal adult age, residing in this county and holding a four-year degree or four years of experience in probate court.
My final thought is that no one holding an elected position in our state should assume that they own that position. The people have the right to decide, and those who have tried to paint Ms. Thompson as a bad candidate have not convinced me that Judge Roe is better qualified based on SC law.Tina Bevington