Be There When Lightning Strikes

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LIGHTNING EDITORIAL: Our destructive county commissioners

Has there ever been a time when the county's elected leaders did more damage to the best interests of their constituents than the current Henderson County Board of Commissioners is doing?

We can think of none.
It's not enough that commissioners' meetings are amateur hour when it comes to meaningful constructive debate on the issues.
As Commissioner Mike Edney pointedly remarked at the embarrassing public display of ignorance and reckless charges on July 18, his colleague Larry Young knows no persuasive debating skills.
"Quit blaming everybody's business practices," Edney said during the debate over giving tourism tax money to the Flat Rock Playhouse. "That's all you've ever done. If you disagree with somebody you attack 'em, and that's not right."
Don't look for it to end. This is their way.
Whether it's Bill O'Connor attacking the schools, or O'Connor and other board members blasting away at Pardee Hospital, or Young eviscerating the Flat Rock Playhouse, the current elected leaders have shown that they're allergic to understanding the details of finance, analyzing practices and leading a step-by-step process toward a solution.
If they did, they would not have spent the past 18 months trying to sell Pardee Hospital out from under the very board — one they appointed — that is working to make the hospital better and position it for the coming challenges in health care. If they did, they would have asked school administrators and the School Board for collaboration and input in how to cut the budget in 2011, instead of taking a meat-ax approach and crowing that they knew best.
And if they did, they would not bray from on high that they had done their homework, as Larry Young claimed week before last, and then sputter a pair of patently false assertions — that the Playhouse board had tripled director Vincent Marini's salary and that the Playhouse is building a theater in North Myrtle Beach.
We do not claim here that the commissioners should keep their hands off, nor that they should drop the questioning of the Playhouse or the school system or anyone else they're writing a check to. Just the opposite. We're making the claim that this board, through reckless incompetence, is undercutting its responsibility to draw out details in a civil and effective way and work toward a solution.
The commissioners are in a perfect position now to demand accountability from the Playhouse over the management and spending that they imply needs oversight. Yet they're blowing it. Although we would not want Young to be the driver of it, the commissioners have the vehicle and the justification now for ordering a thorough review of Playhouse finances to make sure they're spending money wisely.
Sadly, that's not what we expect to see next week. This Board of Commissioners has given the people no reason to expect civil behavior and wise choices. This board has found its own mission: If it's a valuable asset for Henderson County, let's find a way to destroy it.