Commissioner slams 'politics as usual' in local government
By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 8, 2010 1:46 PM
Commissioner Andy Anderson addresses his fellow board members Tuesday morning. Anderson, a Republican, criticized the majority for what he called "good old boy" politics.
Wayne County commissioners Tuesday morning were chastised for playing good-old-boy politics and following the dictates of a powerful, but unnamed, few instead of the wishes of the people who elected them.
Republican Commissioner Andy Anderson had those and other harsh words for his Democratic colleagues on the board as they elected J.D. Evans as chairman and John Bell as vice chairman.
Anderson said it wasn't an election, but rather a conspired appointment because decisions had been made prior to the board meetings.
Prior to the vote Anderson said he had read in the newspaper that it has been a tradition to elect the vice chairman as chairman. He asked County Attorney Borden Parker if that was the case.
Parker said it has happened in some cases, but not in others.
"If the chairman and vice chairman have already been decided, then it is an appointment," Anderson said.
No one is chosen until action is taken by the board, Parker said.
Anderson again said that it was not an election if the decision already had been reached.
"No one takes office until elected by the board," Parker said.
Parker, who handled the vote, then asked for nominations.
Commissioner Sandy McCullen nominated Evans, who served as vice chairman during the past year. Parker asked for other nominations. None were made and Parker asked if there was a motion to elect Evans by acclamation.
Mrs. McCullen made the motion that was approved 7-0. Anderson did not vote and in accordance with board policy was counted as a yes.
Commissioner Bud Gray nominated Bell for vice chairman and Commissioner Steve Keen nominated Anderson.
Keen and Anderson voted for Keen's motion. Gray, Mrs. McCullen, Evans, Bell and Commissioner Jack Best voted for Gray's motion.
Afterwards Anderson said he wanted to read a prepared statement expressing observations he had made over his 18 years on the board.
He said that most of the commissioners have forgotten that they were voted into office to represent their citizens.
"Most of them take their orders from a few powerful people and will not make a decision without their approval, several have directly told me this," he said. "They are vexed with promoting the socialistic system and not in looking at the revenue-producing system needed to fuel our economy.
"They continue to promote themselves and the good old boy system, never letting new blood and ideas come forward. You saw this again today when the same old tired commission had a mock election which for 18 years I have served have been mock elections as a small group of commissioners previously conspired to pre-select who would be 'it' this time, have it cleared by the power group then appear at the first December commissioner meeting and hold a so-called election."
Anderson said that Wayne County would quickly be in the top 10 counties in the state if commissioners possessed the "intestinal fortitude" to do what was best for the county.
If the county had some "new blood and smart motivated young commissioners" elected and the "hangers-on eliminated" then the county would bloom and reach its potential, he said. Anderson said he was including himself when speaking of the hangers-on.
Most of the commissioners are nice, but they "just don't get it," he said.
"I challenge all of us to step up to the plate and put Wayne County and its people and businesses first and look more at the economic issues and less at the feel-good elect me as your socialist representative then this country will truly move into the 21st century," he said.
Anderson declined further comment following the meeting.
He did say he thought his 18 years on the commission qualified him to serve. Anderson said he could not understand how partisan boards in other counties could share power, but Wayne County couldn't.
Before launching into his criticism of the board, Anderson said officials on the local, state and federal levels fail to see that society "cannot long endure" when it ignores contributions of business, industry, farm and agribusiness and the military.
He said that while those and others look at the economic needs of the community that local, state and federal governments take the opposite view.
Rather they work to create "an overburdened social system that produces nothing and even goes to the extreme of destroying or hampering those businesses and individuals who attempt to create revenue -- the life blood of our democratic system," he said.
Anderson said he had traveled extensively from above the Arctic Circle to south of the Antarctic Circle and east and west around the world several times. He said that during those trips he had always tries to observe practices, both good and bad.
"I then attempt to use the good practices I observe in my commissioner decisions and have found most of them to aid our county," he said.
Evans asked board members if they had any comments following Anderson's remarks. No one spoke.
Prior to Anderson's comments, Keen asked Evans if the board's seating arrangements could be changed.
Keen said that the two seats he and Anderson occupy are perceived as seats for Republican commissioners and segregated from the rest of the board. He asked if the seating might be rearranged.
"I will take that under consideration," Evans said.