Florence County: Back-room politics update

On Thursday, Florence County Council is expected to meet behind closed doors to do what politicians often do behind closed doors - do things they don't want you to see them doing. Like giving one of their own a free ride to become the next County Administrator, which we first reported earlier this month.

This is nothing new in Florence, where using the powers of your office to look out for your buddies is an accepted practice among officeholders - as well as fact that the voters to choose to elect and re-elect them. So maybe they're really ok with this taking place?

One former member of County Council questioned this pending insider deal and accused Smith of using his position on Council to benefit himself. In a letter to local news media, he asked Florence County residents to:
(A)sk your council member (and Rusty Smith):

1. How did Smith get the road to his home changed to a county-maintained road from a privately maintained road?

2. How did Smith get the county to keep his property taxes below that of comparable properties nearby?

3. How did Smith buy property in a county industrial park considerably below market value? Wasn’t the classification of the property in the park set for manufacturing, not retail? Also, how much park work benefitting Smith was performed while Smith was a councilman?

4. How can Smith justify leading the council to increase its pay by 40 percent over the past five years while increasing the pay of county employees just 2.5 percent?

These seem like good questions to ask.

While the County Administrator isn't leaving until November, there seems to be an all-out rush by council members to get their guy his job as soon as possible.

Why they're doing this seems like another good question worth asking.

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