Beaufort County Republican Club favors continuing to elect treasurer, auditor

achristnovich@beaufortgazette.comMarch 15, 2012 

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If the Beaufort County Republican Club has its way, residents will continue to choose their auditor and treasurer at the ballot box.

The local Republicans met Thursday night at Palmetto Electric Cooperation to discuss the upcoming November referendum that will ask voters if the two offices should continue to be elected or be appointed by the county administrator.

Party members, current treasurer Doug Henderson and five Beaufort County Council members -- Paul Sommerville, Brian Flewelling, Rick Caporale, Jerry Stewart and Stu Rodman -- discussed whether the best candidate is selected in elections that typically draw small voter turnouts.

Some of them cited the five terms served by former county treasurer Joy Logan. Officials discovered $210,000 was missing from the office in 2009. A former employee was convicted of taking the money in 2010.

"For at least 20 years, I voted for the former treasurer," said club member Bruce Fairchild. "Like you, I voted for her because she was a Republican. That's why that person should be appointed."

Republican Tom Hatfield agreed.

Under the terms of the referendum, the treasurer would report to the county administrator.

"Every person in every business reports to a boss, but who does (Henderson) report to?" Hatfield asked.

Flewelling responded immediately. "Us. All of us -- voters," he said.

Henderson agreed with that.

"Have we reached a point where we're going to say, "I give up, let the government do it for me'?" he asked. "We don't want to put the effort into finding a good candidate or vetting an existing one."

Stewart said changing the system would be a "knee-jerk reaction" to the past corruption. He said the state legislature needs to act to set qualifications for the two offices.

Flewelling, Henderson and Stewart favored keeping the elective system.

The club voted 39-12 to let voters chose.

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