Once upon a time … 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? You’re just about to the end of the journey. You don’t need to do that.
Well, there’s a youngster coming along who might not make it. “I am building the bridge for him.”
Well, Carey Smith isn’t 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, isn’t such a youngster himself.
Nonetheless, the ideas from “The Bridge Builder,” written by Will Allen Dromgoole in 1900, still apply to Georgetown.
Smith has done much to lead Georgetown through some tough issues. He’s 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 aren’t 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.
There’s 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.
That’s 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 haven’t all been filled, there has been some restructuring and efforts are underway to make the city run more smoothly.
Again, Carey Smith isn’t really an old guy, and Chris Carter isn’t 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. He’s 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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