Opinion: It's time for a change in County Council

Aug 08 Written by  GOLAURENS.COM

It is time for Joe Wood to go.

His petty vindictiveness came out again at the Laurens County Council meeting on Tuesday night and things got out of hand.

I published a blog on January 11 about Wood’s behavior in the council meeting on January 10, 2017, titled “We deserve better from Laurens County Council”. Wood disrespected an attorney and a representative of Upstate Forever in that meeting. He also sparred with Councilman Stewart Jones about an op-ed Jones had published and at the end of his rant he told Jones to “grow up”.  

On Tuesday night, Wood was at it again. This time it was aimed at Brenda Stewart after her remarks to council during the public comment time at the end of the meeting. Stewart spoke to council about the SpyGlass audit, council member attendance and leadership and accountability.

The common thread here seems to be a letter to the editor or an op-ed piece. Jones penned one in early January and then felt the wrath of Wood in a council meeting. On Tuesday night, it was Stewart that felt the wrath.

Stewart wrote a letter to the editor this past week, titled “County Council continues to show lack of vision and leadership”. Wood took exception to that letter and gave Stewart both barrels after the public comment time.

“I cannot recall seeing you at a council meeting before or a budget meeting in the 14 years I’ve been on council,” said Wood. Stewart replied, “is that me?” in reference to who Wood was addressing. Woods response was a stern, “I’m talking.”

The tone and condescending manner in which Wood spoke to Stewart was rude and unacceptable for the chairman of county council. She is a citizen of Laurens County. She wrote a letter to the editor. She addressed council during the public comment time. She did everything as she was supposed to. Wood just didn’t like what she had to say and he used his platform to disparage her.

Here are a few direct quotes from Wood on Tuesday night directed at Stewart:

“I would advise you that the next time you write a letter to the public with criticism of the council that you check out the information that that ‘little bird’ fed you or wrote for you is full of accurate information.”

“I ask you to sit back down. You’ve already said what you wanted to say.”

“You say that you’ve used companies like SpyGlass many times in the past, it seems like you need to take care of your own problems instead of proposing to straighten out ours.”

“You’re not going to talk anymore, now you sit down. I’ve asked you to sit down again. Sit down!”

As Wood continued to berate Stewart, Jones had had enough. “I don’t think that it’s right for you to sit here and criticize people out here and tell them that it’s not their business,” said Jones.

Jones then jumped to his feet and pounded his fist on the desk. “This is a joke,” said Jones. “This is a joke. I’m not listening to this. I’m not paying taxes to you. I’m not dealing with this.”

At that point, Wood requested that Sheriff Don Reynolds remove Jones from the chambers. “Mr. Reynolds, I allowed everyone to speak in here and I’ve got a right to speak myself,” said Wood. “Mr. Reynolds, I’ve asked you to escort this man out of chambers.”

As the circus played out, I sat there wondering what I just witnessed. There were a lot of people in the council chambers that work hard every day to bring vitality to Laurens County. People that focus on economic development and the betterment of this county. Those same people have laid a lot of ground work to make Laurens County a better place.

What Joe Wood did on Tuesday night was hurt Laurens County. It hurt our reputation. It hurt economic development. It hurt growth. It hurt the hard work that many people in this county put forth every day to make this county prosper.

Using his own words, it’s time for Joe Wood to “grow up”, “not talk anymore” and “sit down”. Not so fun when it’s pointed at you is it Joe?

Last modified on Wednesday, 09 August 2017 12:23