Wednesday, August 17, 2011
A referendum shouldn't be this difficult
I will likely write a longer piece on this after I do some more research, but I am trying to figure out why it is so doggone difficult to solve the problem of whether the Effingham County Commission Chairman should have a vote or not. Current commission chairman Dusty Ziegler says he has a vote. A majority of the other commissioners say the at-large chairman should not. They say the position was created by a 2006 referendum largely for oversight reasons, and that the chairman should only vote to break a tie if one of the other five commissioners were absent. Two mules fighting over a turnip, I know, but the issue needs to be solved as soon as possible, and our state lawmakers aren't letting that happen.
The commission voted last month to ask legislators to approve a referendum to decide whether the chairman's position should exist. As of now, it doesn't appear the Legislature will take it up until next year's regular session, even though they are meeting in special session right now. My question is why the heck do we need a bunch of folks from across the rest of the state to allow Effingham Countians to vote on an issue that only affects them? I need to bone up on the history of home rule, or lack thereof, but on an issue like this, the only reason state lawmakers seem to be involved is that they think the people back home are a bunch of rubes who don't know how to go to the bathroom without their help.
I don't usually see eye-to-eye with Mr. Zeigler, but there is no reason that the duties of his position shouldn't be put to voters. If the people give Mr. Zeigler a vote, so be it, though it would behoove the commission to take steps to create another commission post in order to avoid having an even number of commissioners. Effingham County is big enough for seven commissioners. If they don't, well, it looks as if Mr. Zeigler isn't going to run for re-election anyway. That is unless he thinks enough Effinghamians are singing the Notre Dame fight song loudly enough to have him challenge one of the district commissioners.
Regardless of Mr. Zeigler, there is absolutely no reason that, on an issue like this, we should have to grovel to Buddy Carter and Ann Purcell to allow the people of Effingham County to figure things out for themselves. Unless, of course, I can find a reason, in which case I will pull an Ole Anderson and take the completely opposite view tomorrow.