In the Fuss, We Missed the Main Point

The audit of Laurens County’s Telecom billing is continuing, regardless of the extensive discussion about county finances at Tuesday night’s Laurens County Council meeting. Our review of a video of the meeting, posted by Councilman Stewart Jones, shows that the issue that caused such consternation had actually already been settled at the start of the meeting.

Council Chairman Joe Wood announced that Councilman Ted Nash had withdrawn his request to change his vote on the contract with Spy Glass. Since Nash no longer wanted to change his vote, that item was taken off the agenda and the contract continues.

Councilman Stewart Jones then asked for two items to be added to the agenda. One was to discuss the matter of continuing with the audit. Chairman Wood pointed out that it wasn’t necessary to discuss whether to have another vote since the request for that vote from Councilman Nash had been withdrawn. He noted that’s why the Spy Glass matter was removed from the agenda.

Councilman Jones then wanted to have a discussion about the use of Roberts Rule of Order by County Council, expressing concern that one councilman could change his mind about a vote and delay implementation of a contract. County Attorney Sandy Cruickshanks then explained that other County Council members have also requested a reconsideration of a vote in the past. He then explained that when Nash made his request, County Administrator Jon Caime made an administrative decision to hold up the contract until the question was resolved. Cruickshanks explained that it was a reasonable call of the administrator to hold up on the contract, given the uncertainty of another vote.

With Ted Nash withdrawing his request to change his vote, the contract with Spy Glass is now back in force, looking for other possible unnecessary telephone and data charges.

In other details from the comments of 911 Director Joey Avery, he told Council Tuesday night that the amount of improper charges given in initial reports was not accurate. He said the actual over charge was only about 20% of that figure. Avery said the “line” involved was discontinued by Laurens County in 2005, but perhaps due to confusion of a circuit number the phone company continued to bill the county after it was discontinued. He said they’re now working with that Telco company regarding a reimbursement.