Once again, Anderson County Council had Joey Preston be one of its biggest news makers of its meeting. At issue was the letter mentioned before on this website and in the Independent Mail newspaper. The people of Anderson County have endured the saga for years. Pro-Preston people clash with anti-Preston people on issues that do not really matter to the people who live and work and make their lives in Anderson County.
A very new county council is coming in January, one in which it appears that Mr. Preston is not eager to work with. So be it. Those type of situations occur often in business and government. Just recently, Clemson University had a similar situation. Former football coach Tommy Bowden had created a real divide in the Clemson community. While I will shed no tears for Mr. Bowden, Clemson did do the right thing by just paying the man and sending him on his way. It is difficult to find another way out of such a situation for any organization that has such a divisive and prominent figure in its midst.
That is what Anderson County government is facing now. Joey Preston did some good things for Anderson County. However, along the way, Preston had some major problems. Those problems formed a real divide in the county.
With a fresh council coming in come January, now is the time to settle the Preston question. For the public good, no great amounts of money should be spent trying to"get" Preston and the like. Indeed, not one hour or minute of the new council's time should be spent on Joey Preston. Instead, it is time for the county to work on a settlement of Preston's contract, work out a payment schedule, and send the man on his way. While it is certainly time for a change in the Adminstrator's office, Anderson County elected a council that made a deal with Preston. It is the right and honorable thing to settle and compensate the man upon an exit from his duties prior to the contract's expiration.
Contrary to what some in the extreme anti-Preston crowd might contend, I do not call for such a settlement because I support Preston's policies or like him. Frankly, I am definitely no fan of Joey Preston. However, I am a big fan of the people of Anderson County. The people of Anderson County deserve the chance to settle the Preston question and move on. The best way, and the most professional way to do that is to work out an exit deal with Preston so the Anderson County Council can get to the business of the people of Anderson County. Further, working out an exit deal with Preston will show others who contract with Anderson County that Anderson County has the honor of sensibly brokering a deal if a contract does not work out before its expiration.
I realize that emotions run high on both sides of the Preston question. After living away from Anderson County for 14 years, I will also admit my frank surprise at how emotions, not logic, not idealism, seem to rule county government politics. It is time for that emotion to be checked. It is time for both sides of the question to broker an honorable exit for Mr. Preston. It is the right thing for Anderson County. It is the right thing for Cindy Wilson and her crowd. It is the right thing for Joey Preston. The new question is, of course, will the factions have the courage and honor to do what is right for the people of Anderson County?