Councilman takes part in meeting via smart phone

Charles Warner Editor

January 16, 2014

UNION COUNTY — Four appointments were made to the Union County Fair Board Wednesday afternoon during a special council meeting in which one member of council cast his vote over the phone.

Union County Council is composed of six council members elected from single-member districts and the county supervisor who is elected at-large. Before council can meet and take any votes on a matter, a quorum or majority of the council must be present at the time of the meeting. This means four council members must be present for the council to meet and decide the issues before it.

On Wednesday, District 3 Councilman Tommy Ford, District 5 Councilman Randall “Chump” Hanvey, and District 6 Council Member Kacie Petrie were present. Also present was Supervisor Tommy Sinclair who said that because he was a member of council his presence meet council had a quorum and could therefore meet and take action.

Those not present were District 1 Council Member Joan Stevens, District 2 Councilman Frank Hart, and District 4 Councilman Ben Ivey. Sinclair said that Stevens and Ivey were absent due to emergency medical situations involving family members while Hart was at a very important meeting of his church.

Even though he was not physically present in the Grand Jury Room of the Union County Courthouse where Wednesday’s meeting took place, Ivey nevertheless was able to take part in the deliberations via Sinclair’s smart phone.

Sinclair said Ivey was able to do this because once a quorum is established, a member who is not physically present may nevertheless participate in meeting electronically including make and second motions and cast votes.

Ivey did just that during Wednesday’s meeting, voting with the other members of council to approve the four appointments made to the fair board, including an appointment of his own.

Council voted unanimously to approve the reappointment of James Hunter, Randy George, and David Owens to second terms on the board and Dudley Adams to a first term.

Each member of council including the supervisor is allowed to make an appointment to the board. Hunter was appointed by Hart, George by Sinclair, Owens by Petrie, and Adams by Ivey.

The terms each member appointed or reappointed Wednesday vary in length with Hunter’s and Owens’ being for three years and George’s and Adams’ for one year. The terms of an appointee run concurrent to that of the member of council who appoints them and expires with the council member’s term. Sinclair’s and Ivey’s expire this year while Hart’s and Petrie’s will not expire until 2016.

Council had originally been scheduled to take up the fair board appointments at its regular meeting on Tuesday, however, Sinclair said this was delayed because of questions about the application process. Sinclair said this was cleared up and Wednesday’s meeting scheduled so the board members could be appointed in time for a very important fair board meeting Thursday night.

Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at cwarner@civitasmedia.com.