By Stan Welch
Anderson County Council met Tuesday night, and approved the purchase of two boats for the Sheriff’s Office. One will replace the craft that was involved in the drowning death of a deputy last year, while the other will be a smaller craft that will be more versatile.
The smaller craft will be used on Broadway Lake as well as on the Saluda River during certain events. District Two Councilwoman Gracie Floyd raised the issue of the smaller craft being assigned exclusively to Broadway Lake, which lies largely within her district.
“We had a boat and you took it from us and gave it to the city of Anderson. Our administrator, Mr. Burns, gave me a letter promising in writing that if we let the city have that boat that we would get a new one in return. Now, it seems that his word, even in writing, is no good.”
Public safety committee chairman Ray Graham explained to Floyd that the boat being purchased would belong to the county and not to Broadway Lake. “While it will be used on Broadway Lake and will often be assigned there, it is also needed in various other locations, where a smaller, more shallow draft vessel can be used. As to the boat that was taken from Broadway Lake, it had been allowed to deteriorate to the point that it was useless. The city asked for it so they could have an emergency boat for its use. They paid to restore the boat to a usable condition.”
Graham also explained that the boat involved in the deputy’s death was being sold, along with two jet skis that were seldom used to help pay for the new crafts. Additional funds from the sheriff’s asset seizure fun are also being used.
Graham also announced that a new code enforcement deputy had been appointed, and would be focusing on the area around the Anderson Regional Landfill for the next ninety days. There have been numerous complaints about traffic problems in that area caused by the garbage trucks and fuel tankers that go in and out of the various facilities.
The matter of the county’s EMS franchise was removed from the agenda because the language to be voted on was not yet prepared. IT will be addressed at the next Council meeting.
An update on the Sheriff’s Office using the Williamston jail to hold suspects until they can be transported indicated that such an arrangement would not be feasible, according to Graham. “Right now, there is some discussion of Williamston helping Pelzer with providing police services, and that somewhat clouds the picture. There is some discussion of forming a transport team that would have ACSO deputies transporting suspects, and letting the municipal officers stay on patrol instead of running back and forth to the detention center. But nothing is settled on that right now,” said Graham.
Following an executive session, the Council voted to engage the Williamston law firm of Cox and Cole to serve as the local counsel in the county’s lawsuit concerning the opioid issue. Several counties throughout the state are filing suit against the pharmaceutical industry in reference to the unprecedented prescribing of opioids to the public, and the resulting epidemic of narcotic use and addiction in the state and across the nation.
Lee Cole told The Journal that the Harrison White Law Firm, out of Spartanburg, would be the lead counsel in the action. “John White, Jr. has extensive experience in the field, and is currently representing several counties in their lawsuits against the pharmaceutical industry. We are proud to have been chosen to represent Anderson County, and are looking forward to working with Mr. White. I anticipate filing Anderson’s lawsuit within the next sixty days.”
By Stan Welch