Letter: Iwanski ‘accomplishments,’ forum no-show illustrate ‘incompetence’

To the Editor:

The League of Women Voters hosted another excellent forum for our local candidates Tuesday night in Clinton.

Unfortunately, one candidate, Acting Mayor Myron Iwanski, decided he had better things to do with his time and “went fishing.” At least that is the excuse that was read in a prepared statement by his surrogate.

The statement went on to tout his leadership accomplishments and experience at keeping our taxes low, our debt in check, all the while fixing all the problems the county faces that he attributed to his predecessor.

The unfortunate part of this was that Mr. Iwanski’s opponent in this race, Commissioner Buzz Patrick, came prepared with his opening and closing remarks in hand, ready to defend his voting record and his vision for the county.

After Commissioner Patrick read his opening statement, the League informed him that he would not be allowed to answer questions from the audience nor present his closing statement.

In other words, Mr. Iwanski did not bother to extend the simple courtesy of notifying the League or his opponent that he had better things to do with his time on this important evening, thus depriving the public of its chance to get to know Buzz Patrick.

So just what are the leadership accomplishments of Acting Mayor Iwanski? This is the short list:

  1. A 16.2-cent property tax hike, less than a third of which earmarked to address the problem of the overcrowding of the jail and no solution as to how the new jail would be staffed.
  2. A near doubling of the county debt to the 1990s level, when Mr. Iwanski was first elected a county commissioner.
  3. Placement of the county’s credit rating on a downgrade alert by Moody’s.
  4. Severe flooding of the courthouse records department during last week’s storm and a “loss” of court records, as reported by local media, while Mr. Iwanski was out campaigning to regain his old commissioner’s seat.
  5. And finally this week, a class-action lawsuit brought by the tenants of the David Jones Industrial Park that was served to Anderson County and personally to Mr. Iwanski, for rewriting the covenants of the industrial park. A lawsuit that the tax-payers are now on the hook for.

In my humble opinion, none of these “accomplishments” instill confidence in Mr. Iwanski’s experience or his leadership ability. Indeed, these “accomplishments” and Mr. Iwanski’s no-show appearance because of a “fishing trip” illustrates incompetence in managing the affairs of the taxpayer and a casual disregard for the citizens of Anderson County.

One insight into how Mr. Iwanski views the role of government is his comment at the Anderson County Economic Development Association board meeting last spring when he pushed the board members to vote to change the covenants (Issue No. 5 above).

Despite repeated warnings of a lawsuit if the covenants were changed, Mr. Iwanski rationalized the decision by saying that in business you have to take risks. Mr. Iwanski conflates the business of government, which is governing, and the business of business, which is making money.

For years, Mr. Iwanski had the chance to address the problems facing the county, which he failed to act upon as a county commissioner. Then in 18 short months as an acting mayor he does this—make a bad situation worse? Now he asks us to return him to the commission seat he vowed to vacate permanently when he sought the interim mayor position?

After Tuesday night, I will be supporting Buzz Patrick. He voted “no” on raising our taxes. He offered a no-tax-increase solution to the jail overcrowding issue which was ignored. He has brought a smart-minded economic mentality to the issues of local government, and he respects and serves the interests of the citizens that he represents.

Most importantly, Buzz Patrick doesn’t own a fishing pole.

Rhonda Manley

Anderson County

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