The subject of Beaufort County Councilman Jerry Stewart not recusing himself from the discussion of the county's purchase of the Beaufort Commerce Park has been brought up in e-mails to me and other council members.
While I oppose Stewart's position on the proposed purchase, I fully support his continued participation in the debate.
Stewart serves as chairman of the board of the Lowcountry Economic Network, which owns the park it wants the county to buy. His position as a member of the network's board is as a result of his election to County Council and his service as chairman of the Public Safety Committee, which oversees economic development issues.
Stewart has no personal financial involvement in the Lowcountry Economic Network, and to my knowledge, he receives no compensation from it. I believe the only compensation he receives for his efforts on behalf of the network are from County Council.
So to deny Stewart a voice in the debate now before council would be illogical.
He, as our representative at the Lowcountry Economic Network, is in a great place to further our mutual goal of economic development. I opposed his position on the issue only after careful deliberation, giving full weight to his experience and judgment.
On a personal level, there has never been any question of Stewart's integrity or motivation, and any question of it only clouds the debate on the real issue of the efficacy of the county's current economic development efforts.
County Council member