EDITORIAL COLUMN: Council Housekeeping Hour

Time for municipal council housekeeping

Tonight, Pageland City Council will take the oath of office for new council members, officially welcoming Kim Mangum, Calvin Hancock and Jessie Mangum Kimrey.

The trio will immediately go into town business. Former items on the business agenda include the Old Town Pond and Pigg Park, a rezoning request from Tucker Management Co., and a 2021 budget amendment.

New business elements include the appointment of a pro tem mayor, a post currently held by Harold Hutto; first readings of an ordinance that could help revitalize some downtown properties and another ordinance to permanently zoning the 83 homes of Amberly II as restricted general residence. GRR zoning does not allow prefabricated housing.

The agenda item that deserves the most attention is # 4 under New Business Advice and Commissions.

The board will be pushed to make nominations to fill Hancock’s seat on the Planning Commission, along with five other terms that expired at the end of 2021.

An active planning board is essential as Pageland faces growth. The Planning Commission is the first to review the plans of those who want to build in Pageland.

The commission has also just started a long-awaited update of the city’s comprehensive plan.

But it’s not just the Planning Commission that needs attention.

The board has a long history of cleaning up its other boards, commissions and committees.

The first step is to determine if the current list of boards, commissions and committees is necessary.

Some, like the Board of Zoning Appeals, are required by state law.

Some, like the Airport Committee and the Recreation and Awareness Commission, exercise some fiscal oversight.

Others were created as overtime by the board to meet a specific need.

Does this need still exist?

Are there other new needs that require special attention?

The necessary committees must have a clear vision statement and rules of operation.

Among these rules is compliance with the laws on public assemblies of the state. Committees are created by the council and, therefore, required to have meetings open to the public and in a public place, preferably Pageland Town Hall or the recreation center.

Any action by the committee should be recorded in the minutes, which should be forwarded to city council for review and, if necessary, action.

The board should also take into account the eligibility criteria of each committee – do members have to live in Pageland? and the appointment process and, if necessary, a removal process for those it appoints.

People appointed by the People’s Council must be willing to serve and, most importantly, have time.

Several times last year, the committees were unable to meet due to lack of quorum.

Chronic absenteeism should be a reason for dismissing a committee member.

Another policy in place in some localities is nepotism – the appointment of a family member to a committee.

Whether favoritism towards a family member is real or perceived, it can have a negative impact on working relationships and morale.

Don Worthington is Editor-in-Chief of The Progressive Journal