Opinions - 06-18-2008

Courthouse Shenanigans

Dear Editor,

I like most of Bamberg County love Pedie Hiers and know he does a great job. I’ve seen first hand how the judges and law enforcement honor and respect him, but the actions of one’s staff leads me to think; Has his time come? Does he not realize what’s going on in the Family Court aspect? Rudeness, miss fillings, missing money orders, $10 charge for copies and even worse, illegal lock-ups!! Wake up Mr. Pedie.

The late Mrs. G. W. Briggman, rest in peace, must be turning in her grave. Professionalism must rule.

Leroy Adams, Bamberg, SC

Sweet Rest Baptist Church says thank you

Dear Editor,

On behalf of The Sweet Rest Baptist Church along with Johnny Goodwin and his family, we would like to thank everyone who came out to support the “Bucket Drive Event” on June 7, 2008. All donations are greatly appreciated. Johnny Goodwin is a resident of Denmark who is in need of a kidney transplant. If there are others who would like to donate to this cause to ensure the transplant will take place, please make checks payable to:

Wachovia Bank, Johnny L. Goodwin, Transplant Fund

My withdrawal from the special elections

Dear Editor,

Because I had to withdraw from the up-coming Special Election for Bamberg County Treasurer to be held in July, I wish to address this letter, as an explanation, to my family, friends, supporters and all citizens of Bamberg County.

I have worked in the Treasurer's office for over seven (7) years. I am familiar with the functions of the job duties and responsibilities involved. In addition, for five (5) years, I have continued my education by attending night school at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, ultimately obtaining an Associate Degree in Accounting - a college degree specifically geared to help me in this job. I felt, and still feel that my experience and education would have made me an asset in the position of Bamberg County Treasurer.

The filing period for this position opened May 16 and ended at noon on May 27. With the help of several friends and supporters, I raised the $1,269.76 required to file and submitted myself as a candidate. (Note: All monies have been returned to those who donated.) I prepared to run a campaign based on my experience and education. However, on Tuesday, May 27, at approximately 12:45 p.m., the personnel director for Bamberg County, Ruthie Brown, called me to her office. I responded that I could not come at that time because I was in my office by myself. She then told me, via the telephone, that since I had filed as a candidate, I would have to resign my current position, according to the Amended Policy of the Bamberg County Rules and Procedures Manual, section 208: Employees Seeking Elected Office. This amended policy states: "In the event that an employee of the County decides to seek an Elected County Office, then the employment with the County shall be terminated at the time the employee files or otherwise qualifies as a candidate for office."

I have worked very hard to further myself and prepare myself for advancement in the Treasurer's Office. However, I have a family and we depend on my salary to make ends meet. I cannot just give up my job at this time and this policy means that I will probably never be able to realize my dream of advancement in this office. I have reached the proverbial "glass ceiling" and had to make a very hard decision. I contacted Mr. James "Pedie" Hiers and asked him if I could withdraw from the election. Mr. Hiers contacted Mr. Chris Wilson and Mr. Claire Guess, informing them of my situation and asking if I would be allowed to withdraw from the election. Upon Mr. Hiers' direction, I wrote a letter stating that I was withdrawing and, upon receipt of the letter, he returned my filing fee.

I wish to express my deepest appreciation to my family, friends and the citizens of Bamberg County for the support and the confidence you placed in me during this short period. I felt that, with my experience and education, I would be an asset to the citizenry as Bamberg County Treasurer. I will never be able to thank you enough for the one good thing that has come out of this situation: your understanding, love and support. Thanks to a lot of praying and people praying for me, I am at peace with this difficult decision.

Jimmie P. Bishop, Ehrhardt, S.C.

A matter of give and take

Dear Editor,

I would like information for the citizens of Bamberg County School District I. What is the cost of transporting a bus full of students from Ehrhardt to Bamberg; and what is the cost of transporting a bus full of students from Bamberg to Ehrhardt? Logic would tell one, of course, that there is no difference between the two. Then, in all fairness to both areas, would it not be equal to both areas to do just that?....transport three grades from Ehrhardt to Bamberg and three grades from Bamberg to Ehrhardt?

Ehrhardt Elementary School is the newest in the district. It has never had a record of mold, mildew, or cracks in floors. It is my understanding that these have been a problem in some of the Bamberg facilities. Would it not be a cost savings of using the Ehrhardt School facility where there have been no hindrances to learning?

The quality of instruction in Ehrhardt is in no way inferior to that of Bamberg or in any other school in the state, for that matter. I graduated from Ehrhardt High School in 1950 with foundation strong enough to be accepted at Winthrop College, where I earned a B. A. degree and was accepted into the graduate school of the University of South Carolina, where I pursued post-graduate study.

In my career of 34 years in teaching at a large High School (Walterboro); a medium-sized school (Branchville); and a small school (Ehrhardt High and Junior High), I have found no difference in the attitudes, cooperation, and eagerness for learning in the students; nor in cooperation and support from parents and community in support of students in all instances, there was a constant comradery in each of the schools.

The record of student achievement in the Ehrhardt School has been constant, with scores on PACT among the highest in the district. The establishment of Ehrhardt Primary School (Pre-K through Grade 2) would be a solution in many areas. It is easier to get a higher report grade from the state department if it is registered Grades Pre-K - 2nd grade (a true primary school).

Transportation cost would not be affected; sending one bus from Ehrhardt to Bamberg and one bus from Bamberg to Ehrhardt for an all-day schedule. Teachers living in the Ehrhardt area would have no personal transportation cost traveling to Bamberg.

Cost of operation of the facility in Ehrhardt would be no more than having to purchase mobile units to take care of a greater class enrollment in Bamberg. Having to leave home earlier would be no greater on one area than the other.

Life is a matter of GIVE and TAKE; it produces Harmony. The value of HARMONY in the School district is an asset beyond measure.

Angelia H. Breland, Ehrhardt, S.C.