By Paul Gable
Candidate filing for the upcoming November 5, 2013 municipal elections for the Town of Awendaw city council opened August 22, 2013, and already there appears to be a violation of the S.C. Ethics Law.
The controversy hovers around candidate and current Mayor Pro-Tem Miriam Green and a recent article about her in the official “Town of Awendaw Newsletter”.
The newsletter is produced, printed and mailed by the town using taxpayer dollars to pay for the costs.
Its lead article in the September 2013 issue, which hit the mailboxes of Awendaw residents about the same time that filing opened, was about a community auditorium at the new Berkeley Electric Coop Service Center in Awendaw being named for Green, a 35-year employee of BEC.
IF the article had stopped right there, it would have been fine. However, it went on to praise Green for serving “her community well” and providing “jobs for many Town residents.”
Other comments praising Green in the article include: “helping and enhancing the lives and quality of life those in the community”, “Awendaw and its citizens have been touched by the hand and strong leadership of Miriam C. Green” and “We are thankful for her hard work and dedication.”
The article, in our opinion, is a blatant campaign piece supporting the candidacy of Green.
If the entire document had been paid for by the candidate or some committee to re-elect her, it would have been fine, whether the statements are true or not.
However, using taxpayer dollars to pay for campaign literature is an absolute ‘NO-NO’. Weak as the state’s ethics laws are, this is a violation!
In a town that is broke and behind in its payments to the county for fire service, this is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
The fact that it is tied to the re-election campaign for a sitting council member is a clear violation of the S.C. Ethics Law.