Editorial: Building bridges
Once upon a time Ö there was an old man traveling along his way. It was getting towards evening. He had walked far that day. He came to a deep and wide river cut, but managed to get across to the other side. Once safely across, though bone-tired, he began to build a bridge.
Another guy came along, saw what the old man was doing and asked how come? Youíre just about to the end of the journey. You donít need to do that.
Well, thereís a youngster coming along who might not make it. ďI am building the bridge for him.Ē
Well, Carey Smith isnít all that old, but the interim city administrator for Georgetown has spent his time in our historic city building bridges.
Chris Carter, who starts his job as city administrator on Thursday, isnít such a youngster himself.
Nonetheless, the ideas from ďThe Bridge Builder,Ē written by Will Allen Dromgoole in 1900, still apply to Georgetown.
Smith has done much to lead Georgetown through some tough issues. Heís helped build bridges that can cross perilous issues and have the potential for good outcomes.
The long-awaited drainage project is still underway, and the city, engineers and S.C. Department of Transportation face numerous lawsuits over the sinkholes that formed before Smith got to Georgetown.
There have been long-standing complaints about the structure of city government, and the fact that the mayor and city council members often seem to disagree on issues for reasons that arenít apparent to bystanders.
And yet, Smith has helped those same folks agree to rules of governance, how they conduct themselves at city council meetings and how they interact with one another.
Thereís at least a conceptual agreement to explore changing the structure of city government, from a strong mayor and administrator to a council and city manager form.
Thatís admittedly a simplification, but the idea is that the men and women of city council are considering ways that would lead to more harmonious operations.
A year ago, the city had six or seven key leadership positions sitting empty. While they havenít all been filled, there has been some restructuring and efforts are underway to make the city run more smoothly.
Again, Carey Smith isnít really an old guy, and Chris Carter isnít a youngster, but the idea that Smith has spent his time building bridges so Carter can help the city move forward even more is appropriate.
City Council made a wise choice in picking Smith as interim administrator. Heís done a good job helping to guide the city, and building bridges for all to reach the destination of a better city and improved relationships among citizens, council, mayor and staff.
Smith will be here for another week. We thank him and wish him and his wife well as they return to Rock Hill.
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