The Columbia Chamber of Commerce joined calls for the problem members of the Richland County Recreation Commission to resign because this latest scandal is another in a string that have been bad for business.
“Everything’s about perception,” Chamber President Carl Blackstone told me last night, adding that the following have projected a terrible impression of Richland County:
- The election commission mess.
- The problems with how the county has been spending the penny sales tax for transportation.
- The maelstrom of allegations regarding the Recreation Commission.
The various criminal investigations are one thing, but regardless what happens on that front, the problem commissioners need to go, the business leader said.
And on this one, there’s little county government can do. “I don’t feel sorry for Richland County Council much, but I do on this,” Blackstone said.
Richland County has been “missing out,” he said, nothing that there have been only two industrial announcements in six years. And lack of confidence in local government plays a role in that.
“The business community is jut tired of the constant black eyes in the paper,” he said. “In Richland County, we pay a heck of a lot of taxes” — too much to put up with one mess after another.
“We deserve better.”
Anyway, that’s what he said on the phone last night. Today, he sent out this email to Chamber members:
In August, ten members of the the Richland County Legislative Delegation called for the immediate resignation of Richland County Recreation Commission Director James Brown, III and five additional board members due to the allegations of impropriety and public corruption. In a letter sent to the members of the Richland County Legislative Delegation, the Columbia Chamber supported their call for action.
The mission of the Commission is crucial to our community and should not be overshadowed by the ongoing controversy. Now more than ever, I encourage you to become involved in your local government. Please see the current vacancies on boards and commissions: State Boards and Commissions, Richland County, and City of Columbia.