Governed by the Unelected

March 4, 2014

Inside Insight

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ariail Oconee County

CITIZEN REPORTER CONSIDERS COUNTY’S ‘SHADOW GOVERNMENT’

Who really runs county council government? Even though voters elect county councilmen to represent them in county government, the county uses scores of unelected bureaucrats whose goals and ideas are different from those of many of us.

Take Oconee County. Our government has numerous commissions and committees whose aims are to help plan projects; help write regulations, including amending our zoning ordinances that control privately owned property; help write and amend the Comprehensive Land Use Plan that is used as a blueprint for future projects and ordinances for the county; and play a key role in economic development. In essence, they are like a shadow government.

The 70-plus members of these commissions and committees are appointed by our county councilmen to serve on various committees of county government that influence County Council by their recommendations. Where did these committee and commission members come from, and where did they get the power to creat regulations and ordinances, and facilitate multi-million dollar projects?

Many of these people have been, or are, members of Chambers of Commerce, Leadership Oconee (sponsored by the Chamber), the former Oconee Alliance, Voices of Southern Oconee (VOSO), and Advocates for Quality Development (AQD). Some have been board members of the Oconee Medical Center, teachers and administrators in our public schools, or members of other non-governmental and civic organizations in the county and in the Upstate.

Non-elected bureaucrats of various commissions and committees in our county government have their own agenda, and it certainly is not an agenda of economic and individual liberty. Their agendas are generally to create more ordinances and laws, and to create more projects that they propose to pay for with higher taxes. They assure us that these things are necessary in order to promote “our quality of life,” but it’s easy to wonder how they define “quality” and whose “life” they’re talking about – their own?

Check the above organizations and you may discover who may be appointed to serve on future bureaucratic positions in our county government. But if you happen to disagree with the goals, ideas, and agendas of county council, most likely you will never be appointed to serve on any of these committees and commissions!

Are we, the people, being left out of the bureaucrats’ cozy little “shadow government”?