Editorial: Commissioners’ decision bordered on absurd

The Herald’s Editorial Board consists of Kevin Degon, R.V. Hight, Bill Horner III and Billy Liggett.

There aren’t enough pages between the listings of the words “disingenuous” and “farcical” in the average dictionary to discuss the absurdities of the Lee County Board of Commissioners’ appointment this week of John Quiggle to the seat vacated by Kirk Smith.
Nothing against Quiggle. The former Lee County Board of Education member is a good man and, as a once-elected official, he knows a bit about what he’s getting into as a member of the body that does much of the funding for the school board.
Even so, Harry Undy Sr. was the man for the job. Undy was the Lee County Republican Party’s choice, and tradition, decorum and integrity would dictate that Undy get the nod. But the Democrat wing of this board has a history of ignoring those noble attributes. They tried to ignore the process six months ago. This week, they succeeded.
So why is Quiggle getting the seat of Smith, who resigned from the post because of job requirements? Was it because the current board was tired of seeing Republicans resign from the seat? (Smith filled Amy Smith’s District 2 seat when Smith moved outside the district.)
That might be a valid argument, but the fact is Quiggle doesn’t plan on running for the seat this November; in addition, he’s building a home in another district. So essentially, you’re replacing a six-month tenure with what will barely be a 10-month tenure. On top of that, we’re having to refill a school board seat to make this happen.
No, Quiggle was instead chosen because he used to coach youth sports with board member Jamie Kelly. At least that’s the big reason Kelly gave during the meeting.
Like the Sanford City Council proved twice in recent years, all you have to do is “shoot pool with an employee here” — in the immortal words of the evil Mr. Potter in “It’s A Wonderful Life” — and you can get pretty much anything you want, including a government office.
Just exactly how naive do Reives, Kelly & Co. think we are?
The appointment of Quiggle over Undy was probably the worst-kept secret in Lee County. To actually see it happen, however, and and to see it go down the way it did, is still hard to believe.
And all that after the fight the board put up during the nomination process of Smith?
The growing partisan rift in Lee County widened with this insanity, and the four men who made this choice — Commission Chairman Bob Brown, Jerry Lemmond, Robert Reives and Kelly — very possibly violated open meetings laws by gathering prior to the meeting to set up this sneak attack. It just goes to show you that the voters of Lee County continue to have their wishes ignored.
Not a smart thing to do entering an election year.


3 thoughts on “Editorial: Commissioners’ decision bordered on absurd

  1. I have to say nothing concerning politics in either Lee County level or Sanford City level surprises me anymore. And that is sad.
    Welcome to the harsh reality that fair is not a word this county has any clue to. It is all about the “good old boy network” or “who is your friend” or “who is native:”

    Sad day when they do something like this..I’d think if maybe they held more secret meetings on the topic of how to fund the renovations at the ORIGINAL- NATIVE highschool then we’d have it up and running. Dang you political ones..quit wasting so much time on your little agendas and maybe start doing what the voters want.. District 2 showed our elected officials that if you don’t listen we don’t elect you..it can happen when you all run too.

    tammy hebert

  2. As an “unaffiliated” voter in the district in question I wonder if the appointment was even legal. The Republican party had organized and chosen a candidate. Is a board controlled by the Democratic party allowed to just appoint who they chose in defiance of the Republican party?

    I saw nothing wrong with the Republican choice – and Undy may have run for the seat at election time allowing some continuity which has been sorely lacking in our district this year. The commissioners need to look back to our county school board from a few years back that failed to listen. Virtually no one on that board was re-elected to office. A sad day for what is supposed to be a Democratic process.

  3. Garrick, the appointment was completely legal. There’s currently nothing that binds the county commission as far as accepting the Republicans’ recommendation, although, obviously, many in Lee County are calling for something that does. The commissioners’ action was, among other things, controversial, but not illegal.

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