UNION COUNTY — An ordinance placing all county boards and commissions under the same umbrella of policies and procedures has received final approval from Union County Council, but not without controversy.
Supervisor Tommy Sinclair said the ordinance, which received third and final approval from council Tuesday night, evolved after four separate council discussions that took place over a period of six months.
The ordinance was questioned by Union County Tourism Commission Chair Curtiss Hunter. Hunter said that while she was not attempting to “fight” the ordinance, she did have questions regarding its purpose and effect. She explained that the ordinance will eventually reduce the number of the tourism commission’s members — who are all volunteers — from 15 to seven. Four of the commission’s seats expired in March, and four more will expire next March. None of those vacancies will be filled.
“When the commission gets down to seven, it will be gutted as far as experience,” Hunter said, mentioning that many of the members are unable to attend seminars, summits and other events which are vital to the commission’s success.
Council member Randall “Chump” Hanvey said it would be up to commission members to ensure necessary training takes place.
“If they can’t attend the seminars, they shouldn’t accept the position on the commission,” Hanvey said.
Following the meeting, Hunter said she thinks it would be helpful for council members to attend at least one tourism commission meeting to get a firsthand look at proceedings, as they have yet to do so since she began serving on the commission.
“We are all volunteers, and I think if we have 30 people who want to volunteer to help bring people into Union, they should be allowed to do so,” she said.
The next Union County Tourism Commission meeting will be held Monday, May 20, on the bottom floor of City Hall in Union.
Community Relations Council
In other business, council heard a presentation from Sandra Liggin of the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission Division of Community Relations in regard to starting a community relations council in Union County.
Liggin said the mission of the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission is to eliminate and prevent unlawful discrimination in: employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age and disability; housing on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability; and public accommodations on the basis of race, color, national origin and religion.
Liggin said research shows that there has never been a community relations council in Union County. She mentioned that such councils in other counties provide services such as helping underprivileged students obtain book bags and school supplies and hosting community picnics.
Liggin also mentioned such a council would allow community members a forum in which they could air grievances relating to community relations. She said the purpose would be to promote harmony and the betterment of human relations within the county.