By Paul Gable
Gene Connell, attorney for Treasurer Angie Jones in her lawsuit against county government, hit at the core of the county’s argument in its answer and counterclaim to Jones’ complaint.
In a Motion to Strike certain portions of the county answer, Connell wrote, “…such allegations have nothing to do with the case, nor with Jones’s request of this court and are only meant to defame and/or to be scandalous to the Plaintiff,” and addressing another allegation “Defendant only seeks to impugn the Plaintiff’s character.”
These statements hit at the basic core of the county’s argument. Certain members of county staff and county government have become imperious in their attitudes toward disagreement, criticism and anyone who dares to challenge them.
Connell is correct in that the county has ignored the essence of Jones’ complaint and has chosen to seek revenge on her for filing the lawsuit by attacking her personally.
‘Attack’, ‘revenge’ and ‘fake news’ have quickly become a staple part of political lexicon in America today to the detriment of American style government and the citizens it is supposed to serve.
Many of our supposed leaders forget they were elected to serve, not anointed to rule.
Frankly, all Jones is attempting to do is attain enough employees to provide the level of service the citizens of the county expect and deserve.
According to state law, employees of the Treasurer’s Office and level of service fall only in the purview of the county treasurer.
A specific instance in the county’s answer that Connell pointed to was an offer of temporary employment the county made to Jones after she won the Republican primary with on opposition in the November general election.
“…The offer to Jones was that she be employed from September 6, 2016 to June 30, 2017 with the purpose of educating her as to the budget and the myriad duties and responsibilities of the county Treasurer in order to provide for a smooth transition when she took office. Jones accepted Horry County’s offer, but unfortunately, after several weeks, she started being absent from work without notice, left work early or took extended lunches, and refused to engage in the multiple opportunities offer by the County. As a result, the County had no choice but to seek an end to her temporary employment.”
What is not mentioned in this apparent attempt to impugn Jones’ is that she was an employee of the Treasurer’s Office for 15 years, 11 as Deputy Treasurer, immediately prior to her running for office.
And, the county did not “seek an end to her temporary employment”, instead, Jones resigned from that temporary post because she considered it a waste of taxpayer dollars. County records clearly show Jones resignation, not termination. It appears the county is not being entirely truthful with the court in its response.
It is time for Horry County Council to step up and put an end to this dispute. It is easily resolved and less taxpayer dollars will be spent from the budget agreeing to Jones’ request than it will waste on fighting this dispute in court.
It is time to lead, that is what the citizens expect.