Sandifer and Clary voice their agendas

Two veteran City of Bamberg officials will square off for one open seat on the Bamberg Board of Public Works in the city’s nonpartisan April 7, 2009 election.



Bob Clary



Buddy Sandifer

Incumbent Bob Clary, a lifelong resident of Bamberg, is seeking a third term as a commissioner on the Board of Public Works. Clary was first elected to the board in 1997, and has served as chairman for the last eight years.

Clary was selected as the Outstanding Young Man in Bamberg during his career, and was also selected as Citizen of the Year in Bamberg County in 1999. Clary worked for many years as an announcer and was owner of Radio Station WWBD in Bamberg from 1995-2001. He is known as the “Voice of the Red Raiders” for broadcasting Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School athletics for the last 45 years.

Clary described himself as a person “that always wanted to help people” and that is one of his reasons for serving on the Board of Public Works. He cites the “Bob Clary Christmas Fund” with the proceeds going to various needy causes and the “Angel Tree Program” that helped over 250 children with gifts each year at Christmas time, programs that he started while at the radio station as examples.

“I got more self satisfaction out of that than anything I’ve ever done in my life, those are the two things I miss most about the radio station,” Clary said.

As a commissioner of BPW, Clary said that his main objectives are “to keep the board’s rates as reasonable as they are now, realizing that nothing is cheap any more, while still giving people the best service for their dollar, and keeping our workers as safe as we possibly can.”

He stated that he didn’t want to cut any corners as far as spending money if it would have an adverse affect on the safety of the board’s workers.

Clary said that for the last four to six months he has been trying to come up with ideas on how to help people in the city who can’t afford to pay their utility bills, and came up with the idea of sponsoring an annual golf tournament.

“I want to start having a golf tournament once a year in the very near future with all the proceeds going toward helping indigent people that can’t pay their light bills,” said Clary.

Clary stated that it wasn’t the aim of BPW to cut off citizens’ utilities, “we have been criticized for cutoffs,” he said. “We work with people, who can’t afford to pay their bills, (acknowledging that it’s tough for a lot of people living on $600 and $700 of Social Security income per month to pay their bills). It’s people who can afford to pay, and after 10 or more times of being late, that are cutoff.”

Clary went on to say that if elected, he would “continue to bring the very best services at the lowest rates possible. While we would all like for our rates to be lower, we must realize that everything is going up. As a commissioner, I will certainly try to keep our rates as low as I possibly can (noting that BPW electrical rates are the lowest in the state right now).”

Also running for a seat on the BPW is Buddy Sandifer. A lifelong resident of Bamberg, Sandifer has served on Bamberg City Council for 24 years, and the last 12 as Mayor Pro-Tem. He worked for 40 years at the Edisto Electric Cooperative as Maintenance Supervisor, specializing in Substation Work, and Operations. Sandifer was involved with the Bamberg Fire Department for 44 years upon retiring this year as Assistant Fire Chief. He was also involved with the Ness Sports Complex for 15 years, and for 12 years was the Recreation Director.

Sandifer cited his involvement with the Fire Department, which he describe as “one of the best in South Carolina” with providing the citizens of Bamberg with an ISO Rating of (4), The Fourth of July Celebration, TreasureFest, Wild Game Supper, service on the South End Cemetery, and several special church project committees, as examples of “a few of my involvements that I enjoy doing for our citizens.”

In running for the BPW’s seat Sandifer stated: “I’m offering myself as a candidate for commissioner on the Board of Public Works, and I’m running for this position based on my record of community involvement, my electrical experience, and willingness to help other people,” he said.

Sandifer stated that most people in Bamberg who “know him in some way or another, knows that he stands for good honest government and always working hard for the citizens of Bamberg,” he said.

“I would like to be a commissioner that people can talk to for whatever reason, and get encouragement instead of excuses,” he said.

In outlining his agenda, Sandifer said that there are many concerns that needed to be focused on including, “Our infrastructure that needs to be upgraded, along with our electrical system and waste water to be able to attract industry for the future, and a long range plan needs to put in place for expansion and growth.”

He stated that he would like to see the BPW work closely with the fire department to provide better fire protection, noting “there are many areas in town that fire protection isn’t available for lack of fire hydrants.”

He noted that a few years ago, city council took “tax payers’ money” and added fire hydrants in a residential area of the city at a cost of between $30,000 and $35,000 with “no help from the board.” “These people are tax payers and are the same people that pay city taxes and light bills,” Sandifer said.

He suggested that the grants that the BPW applies for “should be used inside the city area first and the county area second,” noting that “some areas of town have inadequate street lighting, and stated that “having good street lighting a lot of times defers crime.”

“I feel like my 40 years in the utility service qualifies me for this position. I can bring my experience to the board and make our town a better place to live. We have fine people serving on the board, but no board member has 40 years of experience in the utility business.