Originally created 01/08/97

Edgefield chairman keeps post



EDGEFIELD, S.C. - Monroe Kneece retained the chairmanship of the Edgefield County Council on Tuesday on a secret 4-1 vote.

And although the chairman remained the same, Betty Butler took the vice chairman's spot from Sam Speight, also by a 4-1 vote.

The election came after months of rumors about shifting alliances on the council that might have unseated Mr. Kneece, chairman for the past four years.

"I appreciate the vote of confidence from the council members. It's and honor to serve and work for you and that's what I will be doing - working," Mr. Kneece said.

For both elections, there were no formal nominations of candidates. Instead, the five council members were given ballots with all five names and told to circle one.

In the chairman's race, Mr. Kneece received four votes and Mr. Speight got one. For vice chairman, Ms. Butler got four votes and Mr. Speight had one.

Though the vote was secret, freshman Councilman Danny Bishop, attending his first regular meeting, had advocated a change in leadership to Mr. Speight.

Mr. Bishop was due to inherit former Councilwoman Hazel Kitchen's committee assignments, including a spot he wanted on the Tri-County Solid Waste Authority, which handles garbage issues for Edgefield, McCormick and Saluda counties.

But at Ms. Butler's request, the council voted 4-1 to give the spot to Mr. Speight, even though Mr. Bishop owns Merriwether Sanitation Co., a residential trash hauling business.

"I'd like to get on the record as saying I offered my services to the taxpayers of Edgefield County and I was denied," Mr. Bishop said.

A motion by Mr. Bishop to move the start of council meetings from 6 to 6:30 p.m. so people getting off work "have extra time to get here and see how we're spending their money" died when none of the other four members seconded it.