After the Nov. 5 General Election, we noted that voters had given a clear signal that Columbia County government is well-run.
Faced with the choice of a sitting school board member vs. a challenger, and an establishment-groomed county commission candidate vs. an outspoken outsider, voters ratified incumbency and experience over unfocused calls for "change."
In Tuesday's runoff for the school board chairmanship, voters echoed that trend with the election of Regina Buccafusco as the county's first elected board chairman.
Buccafusco is a school board member who some believed was too deferential to outgoing Superintendent Tommy Price - who, in the days before the election, reinforced that impression by publicly endorsing her. Her opponent, former Board member Lee Muns, was very much an "outsider" candidate, campaigning largely on the strength of his own outspoken challenges to the school system.
Lightly funded and with no campaign organization, Buccafusco stunned the better-funded, highly organized Muns by capturing 54 percent of the vote.
Once again, voters have sent a very clear signal: The school system is well-run, and there is a natural reluctance to introduce upset and uncertainty.
This is especially important when the school system is seeking a successor to Price, who is only the second superintendent the system has ever hired.
Some armchair analysts have opined that Muns' nearly 46 percent showing signals a demand for some sort of "reforms" in the system. While the school board certainly should seek opportunities for openness and greater public dialogue - one of Buccafusco's proven strengths - the idea that the losing side gets to suggest direction is pure fantasy.
Keep in mind: Buccafusco's margin of victory is higher than Georgia's recent win over Georgia Tech - yet no one is claiming any bragging rights for the Yellow Jackets!
All members of the current, five-trustee School Board will still be in place when the new four-member board is seated with Buccafusco moving to the elected chairmanship. They've made a good team for Columbia County, and have one of their more important tasks ahead in choosing a new superintendent.
Voters have given their orders: Full speed ahead.
A footnote: Columbia County voters also demonstrated their ability to influence a district-wide vote with the election of David Roper as Superior Court judge.
Roper won easily in the three-county race, much of it by dominating the polls in Columbia County with nearly 78 percent of the vote vs. Bill Williams.
Roper's election also marks a milestone on the circuit: Now, for the first time ever, half of the Augusta circuit's eight Superior Court judges are Columbia County residents.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.