News Archive

Week of Dec. 25, 2002

Wilson requests disclosure on budget questions

Wilson requests disclosure on budget questions

District 7 Councilmember Cindy Wilson encouraged fellow council members to look carefully at spending and posed several questions for public disclosure to County Administrator Joey Preston at Anderson County Council’s last meeting Dec. 17.

Prior to the business session, Ed Jean expressed concern about Wilson’s comments on WRIX regarding budget questions and described the action as “grandstanding.”

Dan Harvell, Anderson County Taxpayers Association, stated that the group seeks “an open, honest government accountable to taxpayers.”

He referenced other counties where councils meet with and welcome dialog with taxpayers. Carl Johnson expressed concern about the behavior of the Council at the last meeting and challenged them to a higher level of conduct and a real attempt to work with each other.

Chairman Larry Greer began the business session by reviewing the procedure for appealing a decision of the chairman during a meeting.

Council member Gracie Floyd proposed that the Council strictly adhere to the times allotted for each item on the agenda.

During her allotted time, Wilson posed the following questions: What is the policy regarding payment of consulting fees to county employees who operate private consulting firms? How was the cost overrun on the museum handled? What measures are being taken to meet the General Accounting Standard Board requirements due June 30?

Wilson continued by requesting an explanation for differences in the budget for the Emergency Telephone System Fund, items shown under Development Construction involving the Balloon Federation function, expenditures for a Department of Commerce event, a $45,000 expenditure to WRIX radio station, an expenditure of $144,000 paid to Dewey Pearson, two accounts which were not shown on the chart of accounts furnished to Wilson, and expenditures of $2,500 or more on several items which were not shown in the budget.

Greer responded to Wilson’s question regarding a $10,000 expenditure for water lines in his district by explaining that Matching Grant Fund #164-5828 was used.

Wilson still expressed confusion about how this line item was listed in the budget and requested additional clarification on the issue.

Council approved a resolution authorizing application for, acceptance of, and distribution of all available funds for Project Kudzu, the Robert Bosch expansion. Greer recused himself from the vote; all other members voted in the affirmative.

A resolution authorizing an early action compact with the Environmental Protection Agency and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control that the county will meet the Ozone Standard by the end of 2007 received unanimous approval.

Tom Martin reported that eight sealed bids were received on the $8 million general obligation bond. Bank of America submitted a low bid of 3.174%.

Martin stated that the response to the bid emphasized the excellent financial standing of Anderson County.

The meeting concluded with remarks from council members. Council member Mike Holden asked the Council to “be careful about public comments that reflect on specific county employees.”

Greer referenced the comments by Carl Johnson emphasizing that “harmony comes from both sides.”

Week of Dec. 18, 2002  

School district hit with new calendar, budget cuts

D. R. Chastain receives Order of the Palmetto

Tri-County Tech commission honors retiring Garrison

School district hit with new calendar, budget cuts

By Stephanie Summerlin

The State Board of Education  approved statewide uniform start dates last week for public schools that would go into effect at the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year.

The 9-8 vote established a 10-day window in late August and early September during which all South Carolina public schools would have to open. 

Schools would have to begin no earlier than the last Monday before Labor Day and no later than the Wednesday after Labor Day.  Schools that operate on a year-round calendar will be exempted from the new rule.

Anderson School District One trustees voted in November to support a resolution to continue local control of the school calendar. District Superintendent Dr. Reggie Christopher voiced his disappointment with the state’s move.

"I am not happy that the decision regarding the start of the school year has been taken out of the hands of the local trustees,” Christopher says.  “We will appeal to our local delegation to implement local legislation that will give us the ability to set our own school calendar.”

The State Board’s first-reading approval in November called for the new start dates to become effective next fall, at the beginning of the 2003-2004 school year, but the Board voted last week to allow districts an extra year to prepare for the new dates.

The General Assembly assigned the task of setting a uniform start date to the State Board.  Board members received background information from a Uniform Start Date Task Force that held regional meetings across South Carolina to gather input from school administrators and teachers, business representatives, parents and citizens.

Some members of the General Assembly said the State Board had overstepped its legislatively granted authority by ordering the statewide uniform start date, but supporters of the new dates said that the language of a law passed by the General Assembly empowered Board members to act. 

Legislators must now decide whether to debate the issue further during the new session of the General Assembly that begins next month.

The S.C. General Assembly also hit school districts across the state with a significant budget cut. District One will see a 4.5 percent cut to the tune of $982,955.27.

"I am not pleased to hear we are having another budget cut at a time when districts are already operating on a tight budget,” Christopher says.

In anticipation of the cuts, Christopher says the Anderson One board created a budget last spring that would not raise taxes and be able to withstand a mid-year cut of between $300,000 and $400,000.

 “In order to make up the total deficient, we will have to take a critical look at every expenditure that does not adversely affect classroom instruction, specifically staff development and travel with the possibility of using some of our fund balance (currently -  $2.1 million),” he says.

D. R. Chastain receives Order of the Palmetto

The Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the governor of South Carolina, was presented to David R. Chastain Dec. 18 at the Williamston Municipal Center. State Senator Billy O’Dell presented the award to Chastain on the occasion of his 87th birthday.

The honor is added to many others that the active Chastain has received over his lifetime.

The Town of Williamston recently recognized Chastain for his contributions to the community and presented him with a key to the city. The Town Council approved a motion that Chastain be named honorary mayor for a day on Sept. 19. Citizens had the opportunity to visit him in the mayor’s office and show their appreciation to him on that day.

Anderson County Council also recently approved a resolution honoring the Williamston resident for his “tirelessness, work and dedication” to Anderson County.

A retired educator, Chastain taught Vocational Agriculture at the high schools of Salem, Williamston, and Palmetto. He was named county and state Teacher of the Year in 1971.

Chastain was instrumental in bringing various amenities to the Williamston area including the Saluda Valley Country Club, The Vocational Center, the Williamston National Guard, Big Creek Water Sheds, the Williamston water filtration plant, Middleton Field, and the girls softball and practice fields at Williamston High School.

He also supervised numerous improvements to Mineral Spring Park, was involved in the Christmas Park and helped draw plans to alleviate traffic problems around several Anderson County schools.

Anderson County District One School Board named Chastain honorary “Citizen of the Year” in 1981 for devoting his time and talents to the improvement of the community.

Born in Pickens, Chastain graduated from Pickens High School and Clemson College with a B.S. degree in agricultural education. He received an M.S. degree in agricultural education from Clemson in 1961.

Chastain’s teaching career began in 1938 at Salem High School in Oconee County. Upon his discharge from the U. S. Army in 1946, Chastain began teaching at Williamston High School which later consolidated with Pelzer into Palmetto High School. He also served as the first director of the Vocational Education Center, selecting equipment, recruiting staff and overseeing completion of the building.

Chastain was a member of the Anderson County Water Authority, the Rural Road Improvement Committee, and was chairman of the Williamston Christmas Park for many years.

Chastain was a spokesman on two occasions for the Town of Williamston in seeking a $500,000 HUD grant for the construction of a water treatment plant. He made application for the $139,000 grant Pelzer received for the development of recreational facilities. He also served as supervisor and worker in constructing many of the recreational facilities at the park in Williamston. He assisted in constructing an American Legion ball field and other fields for local ballgames.

As a battery commander, he activated a unit of the S. C. National Guard at Williamston. During his tenure as a battalion commander for three upstate counties, the Anderson and Clemson armories were built. He retired as Lt. Colonel after 28 years but has a lifetime membership in the S. C. National Guard. He jokes that he saw his family only one time in those 28 years.

He was recognized for his contributions to the Soil Conservation Service in Anderson County and to the YMCA for assisting in developing outdoor recreational activities.

Chastain received the Saluda Valley Sertoma service to mankind award and was nominated for a WFBC-TV Jefferson Award.

How has Chastain achieved all this and more? “I’ve just never been able to say ‘no’ and I just did what I was told,” the modest Chastain said. He also credits a great partnership and a truly joint effort with his wife Margaret.

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy admits that he can think of no one more deserving of the Order of the Palmetto than Chastain. Clardy describes Chastain as a “renaissance man, a local genius who knows the true joy of contributing to the community.”

Tri-County Tech commission honors retiring Garrison

Tri-County Technical College saluted retiring President Don C. Garrison recently by naming the campus in his honor.

Area Commission Chairman Dr. Mendel Stewart made the announcement at the College’s Annual Report Luncheon when the College highlighted its accomplishments during 2001-02 and celebrated 40 years of service to the community.

“In honor of this great man and outstanding president, the College’s governing board unanimously decided to name the campus in his honor,” said Stewart. “It shall henceforth and forever be known as the Don C. Garrison Campus of Tri-County Technical College.”

“In my mind, and in your minds, I feel sure Tri-County and Don C. Garrison are one and the same. I can’t think of one without the other,” said Stewart.

“Everything that came about during the last 31 years happened because of Don’s vision and leadership,” added Stewart. “It’s been a team effort on the part of many dedicated, hard-working people like our community partners, faculty and staff, College board, county councils, legislative delegations, foundation board and many others. But it’s the innovative and inspirational leadership of Don Garrison that has brought us to the place we are today. Dr. Garrison has had a profound impact on the lives of countless people both within this college and the community.”

After nearly 32 years of service, Garrison will retire July 31, 2003.

Garrison began his career in education as a teacher and coach at Pendleton High School. He later went to Easley High School, then on to Palmetto High School. He was at Greenville Technical College from 1963-71 serving as Dean of Allied Health Sciences and Evening Dean and then two years as Interim President. Excluding one year and three months, his entire career has been as an educator in the upstate.

Garrison began his career as Tri-County’s second president on November 1, 1971. Since then the College has expanded from three buildings covering 89,000 square feet to 14 buildings covering 389,828 square feet. Enrollment has increased from 919 during its first year to more than 5,000 degree, diploma, and certificate students and nearly 13,000 continuing education students. He has led the institution from a technical education center offering seven technical courses to today’s comprehensive two-year college featuring 20 associate degree, 8 diploma and 37 certificate programs.

Garrison has placed Tri-County as a key player in the economic development of Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties while providing valuable leadership in the formative years of the State Tech System and Tri-County.

He and his wife Carol, a retired Wren High School teacher, reside in Easley. Their son Donnie teaches and coaches at Pickens High School and is a captain in the S.C. Army National Guard. Donnie’s wife Cheryl is a part-time elementary school teacher. The Garrisons have one grandson, Bolt Stewart Garrison. Garrison’s mother, Vera, is 89 and lives in Liberty in the home in which all her three sons were born.

The Presidential Search Committee will accept applications until January 15, 2003. The Committee hopes to be able to present a slate of finalists to the full Commission by March 3, 2003. Following additional interviews and follow-up activities, the Commission hopes to name the next president sometime in May.



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