Yes, the city of Beaufort should change its form of government.
Why? To increase opportunities for broader and diverse segments of its population to serve as elected representatives.
Over the past 20-plus years, to my knowledge, there have been only two persons, Dr. Tony Bush and Frank Glover, elected to the City Council who resided south of Hermitage Road, and no minorities. When is the last time someone was elected from Hundred Pines, Mossy Oaks, the Northwest Quadrant or Spanish Point?
The change in government must consist of two components.
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First is expansion of council, preferably from five to seven members. In a proposal I submitted to City Council when I was a member, I identified seven as best suited for our community after reviewing the number of elected representatives in all S.C. municipalities of similar size. Seven is better suited to develop a committee structure for the council, among other things.
That expansion, combined with electing council members from districts rather than at-large, will ensure broader geographic representation and enhance the likelihood of a minority being elected.
Six single-member districts with the mayor being elected at-large will bring diversity to our governing body and provide a more appropriate forum for this diverse leadership team to move this historic, talented and diverse community forward in a manner we can all take pride in.
I encourage present elected leaders to provide the necessary leadership to make these changes a reality sooner rather than later.
Fred S. Washington Jr.