Thursday, April 24, 2008

Oconee Commission Passes on Chance to Explain Beer and Wine Votes

Tongues of Commissioners Tied

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners began publicly discussing an ordinance to allow beer and wine sales in county restaurants back in May of 2007 and held three public hearings before voting to pass the ordinance April 8.

Commissioner Don Norris made the motion to pass the ordinance, and Commissioner Jim Luke seconded the motion. BOC Chairman Melvin Davis then asked if there was any discussion.

Norris and Luke said not a word. Nor did Commissioners Margaret Hale or Chuck Horton.

Davis called the question, and Norris and Luke voted in favor; Hale and Horton voted against.

Davis paused, pulled on his nose, and voted in favor. Then the Board adjourned.

The Board met in a secret meeting on December 7 to discuss alcohol sales in the county, so it is likely each commissioner knew what the other was going to do on April 8 long before the vote.

But the public has not been privy to the thinking of the commissioners.

Davis has been quoted in the Athens Banner-Herald as saying he "put aside" some "personal convictions" in voting for beer and wine sale because it was "in the best interest of the county." The story does not specify what those convictions were.

A video of the vote of the Commission is available at my web site and on YouTube.

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