Darlington City Council gets stern talking to at first meeting of the year

Sheila Baccus, Elaine Reed and John Segars get sworn in during the Jan. 2 Darlington City Council meeting.
Photo by Melissa Rollins

By Melissa Rollins, Editor, editor@newsandpress.net

Darlington City Council started 2018 on a sobering note during their Jan. 3 meeting, with several citizens and local representatives chastising them for their behavior during 2017 council meetings.

Citizen Linwood Epps told council members that they need to conduct their meetings with civility and decorum, unlike what attendees have been seeing.

“It would be so nice…if you all would stop acting like school kids on a playground,” Epps said. “You’re not up there for this; stop doing that. You ought to let each other speak before you interrupt. The City of Darlington is in Darlington County; go to the Darlington County Council meetings and watch how they act at council meetings. They let each other speak; they don’t care what you say. You can say what you want to; you have the floor. You all shouldn’t be interrupting each other. Stop acting like kids. You are all grown-ups. Act like it.”

Darlington County Representative Robert Williams told council members that if they are interested in doing anything other than working to make Darlington better, they are in the wrong place.

“It is very crucial, critical to all of us, to unify ourselves,” Williams said. “It is timeout for games. If you’re into playing games, you need to go to the Olympics. As far as dealing with the business of the city, I think this is the time to be serious and we need to get serious with that. I urge all of you, including the mayor, to walk worthy of your calling. Not only walk worthy but live worthy of your calling. That calling is to be elected officials and to be a public servant.”

Williams said that the citizens who elected the council expect more out of them.

“We expect, and when I say we I mean the citizens of Darlington, nothing less than for you to be who you say you are and respect one another,” Williams said. “As you start out this new year, it is up to you all to set the tempo for the city. If you are going to get up here and fuss and fight, guess what you want the citizens to do? Fuss and fight. Folks are watching you when you think they’re not watching you…When we’re in public, we need to act like we’re in public because we don’t know who is watching, who is listening, who is doing anything else; that’s very important.”

Williams said that having been a resident of Darlington his whole life, he would like to see it growing and prospering.
“It would be an honor to see you all move Darlington forward,” Williams said. “I was born and raised in Darlington my whole life. But one thing I kind of despise about Darlington is the lack of growth, the lack of opportunity, the lack of employment. We can do better than that. Darlington can be better.”

Being the first meeting of the year, council members John Segars and Elaine Reed were sworn in to their new term; councilwoman Sheila Baccus was sworn in to her first term representing Ward 1 after beating long-time councilman Coleman Cannon in the November election; they were sworn in by Probate Judge Marvin Lawson.

First reading of a new ordinance dealing with digital signage in Darlington was tabled after councilman Bryant Gardner voiced some concern about the blanket rules the ordinance would impose on businesses regardless of operating hours.

Author: Duane Childers

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