Residents from Columbia County's mostly rural western end have long felt ignored or exploited, especially as the other end of the county has become more urbanized.
Not too many years ago, all of the county's services were based in Appling, the county seat. In recent years, government offices have relocated to be closer to most residents.
When the school board relocated to Evans a year ago, Appling was all but abandoned. Its recently renovated courthouse, the oldest continuously used courthouse in Georgia, mostly sits empty.
In the face of that exodus, and in hopes of giving a small nod to tradition, Lee Anderson persuaded fellow commissioners to hold some of their sessions at the courthouse where, not so long ago, all the county's meetings were held. They agreed.
Until last Tuesday. With Anderson absent, and without discussion, the other four commissioners reneged. Traveling to Appling four times a year is too much of a bother.
"I'm very disappointed in them," said Anderson, whose district includes Appling. To make matters worse, he says he didn't even know the vote was going to occur; he was traveling in California at the time.
Let's be clear: The Appling sessions are a pain. Setting up a meeting at the old Courthouse requires hauling staff and electronic equipment from county offices in Evans, and then taking it down afterward. So the other four commissioners can easily make the case for sticking to the Government Complex Auditorium for their twice-a-month sessions.
But the county's history is too important, and already too neglected, to be abandoned so casually. It especially stinks that the other commissioners ganged up on Anderson while he was gone, in effect telling his constituents that their input isn't wanted.
One of the reasons cited for keeping the meetings in Evans is so they can be televised via the new mini-studio in the auditorium. There's no need to hold a meeting in Appling when the residents in the other end of the county can just tune in on Saturday mornings, right?
Coincidentally, it's in the same time slot long used for cartoons. At least commissioners have some sense of tradition.
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