Fireworks take center stage at Council

WINNSBORO (July 28, 2016) – The Fairfield County Council quickly dispatched with the items on the agenda during its regular meeting Monday night which included a public hearing that no one spoke at and a two-hour executive session after which Council took no action.

The fireworks began during the second public comment period when citizens are allowed to speak on any issue they choose concerning Fairfield County and continued during County Council time at the end of the meeting.

Bertha Goins of Jenkinsville addressed Council about the issues surrounding the Jenkinsville Water District and her concerns for the community.  She specifically addressed her remarks to Councilman Kamau Marcharia (District 4).

“Over $10,000 of the people’s money in your district went missing belonging to both black and white. You didn’t demand an explanation or call for a protest.”  At this point Council Chairwoman Carolyn Robinson (District 2) reminded Goins of Council’s rule that speakers are not to call anyone by name.

Goins complied and continued.

“Much needed businesses are still trying to come into western Fairfield. It won’t cost the taxpayers anything and we can benefit greatly from them, but once again lies are being told why they cannot come in.  We deserve better and demand better and need better leadership.  Infrastructure and smart business development is a must to make our county a home we can continue to be proud of,” Goins said.

She added that it was everyone’s responsibility to nurture, train and direct the young people in the community.

“County and nation starts with them.  Teach them values and morals and then send them out to be an example for others.  That’s our job,” Goins said.

“We covered up so much, swallowed so much, backed off so much, accepted too many lies…”

At this point Marcharia interrupted Goins.

“Madame Chair – that is not the purpose of her being up there.  What was the nature of her conversation?”

With that, Goins sat down without completing her comments.

Later, during the County Council time portion of the agenda, Councilman William “Billy” Smith (District 7) commented on Marcharia’s interruption of Goins’ address to Council.

“I think we need to make sure that we respect everyone when they speak in here,” Smith said, “whether it is a citizen or a Council member.  That needs to go both ways, not just one way.  I know that the second public comment portion in our bylaws states that anybody can come out and speak pretty much about anything…I just want to make sure we don’t quiet or hush citizens when they come in here because that is a right we have afforded them with our bylaws,” Smith said.

When it came Marcharia’s turn during County Council time, he began by lamenting that there were no police officers in the room.

“I do not feel safe in this Council,” Marcharia said. “At the last Council meeting I feel like I was verbally attacked and called a liar.  I feel like again (tonight) I was going to be verbally attacked. I certainly want police officers in here until I feel safe…I have been verbally attacked and I don’t know where (those) attacks are going to lead to or what’s going to happen.”

Chairwoman Robinson said that the lack of an officer was not intentional, but was due to the day of the Council meeting being changed from Monday to Tuesday.

Marcharia then turned his attention to Chairwoman Robinson, asking her how many miles of paved County roads were in her district.  Robinson responded that most of the roads in her district are state roads, and that dirt roads were paved only after the County started its road paving program.  She noted that districts 1, 2 (her district), 3 and 4 (Marcharia’s district) have the most unpaved dirt roads in the County.

“All the roads up there (District 2) were as smooth as a baby’s face,” Marcharia said, “but with the roads at Lake Monticello, you are lucky if there are 25 miles of paved road, and every one of those roads will tear your car up. There is some discrepancy going on as to what roads get paved and don’t get paved.  You have 3 or 4 members in your district that sit on the CTC (County Transportation Committee)…I think it’s unfair if you have 3 or 4 people in (your) district to speak for your roads and everybody else might not even have a representative.”  CTC members are appointed by the legislative delegation, not County Council.

Marcharia’s final target was what he perceived to be accusations that he had divulged confidential information.

After several minutes of a high decibel back-and-forth between Marcharia and Chairwoman Robinson about the issue of confidentiality and whether he (Marcharia) had been unfairly maligned in the newspaper, Robinson resorted to her gavel. Smith put an end to the noisy bickering with a motion to go into executive session to discuss a contractual matter regarding Fairfield Memorial Hospital. It was seconded simultaneously by Marion Robinson (District 5) and Mary Lynn Kinley (District 6), and the open meeting abruptly ended.

County Administrator’s report

Jason Taylor, Fairfield County Administrator, also brought several recommendations for action to the Council Tuesday night, all of which were approved unanimously.  Chief among these was the recommendation to put Phase II of the Commerce Park off Peach Road out for bid.  The engineering plans for the road extension and water and sewer infrastructure are done, Taylor said, with a total estimated cost of $5,970,000, and will be paid for with funds the County has.

The Council also voted to replace the old EMS substation in Rufus Belton Park with a new modular

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