WINNSBORO — Monticello resident Jeff Schaffer was escorted out of Monday night’s regular scheduled county council meeting by deputies after making his public comments.
Schaffer’s comments were cut short by the pounding of Chairman David Ferguson’s gavel after Schaffer directed the words “stupid” and “dumb” toward council.
“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong,” Schaffer said. “That would be you folks (pointing toward council). Whenever I think you folks can’t get any dumber you amaze me.”
Upon those comments, Ferguson brought an end to Schaffer’s comments.
“You will not address this council that way,” Ferguson said after bringing down the gavel.
“I’ll address you however I want to address you and you’re not intimidating me,” Schaffer replied sternly.
Upon that response, Ferguson motioned for the deputies to escort Schaffer out of the council chambers.
Following Schaffer’s ejection, the meeting continued with audible groans coming from the audience’s disapproval of Ferguson’s decision to have Schaffer removed.
Near the end of the almost three-hour meeting, Vice Chairman Dwayne Perry delivered a speech concerning the trust and treatment between individuals.
According to Perry, one of the classes he recently attended in Washington, D.C., focused on ways to improve and develop trust with constituents.
Perry insisted that respect works both ways, coming from council to the public and from the public to council.
There was one thought that Perry encouraged everyone in attendance to remember.
“If I ever call one of you (citizens) stupid or dumb, that would be very disrespectful,” he noted. “It really would. I think my mother would turn over in her grave if I said that. That was the issue earlier when we were called dumb and stupid. I think those are the kind of things that we’re talking about when it comes to being professional. Especially in council chambers, it does work both ways.”
Since trust and respect are two issues that council has been continually dealing with, Perry said he planned to talk more about it in upcoming meetings.
“We have some dialogue and have set some clear expectations in our bylaws because I think we should respect each other,” he stated. “We should be kind and I know that’s a strong word, but I think we should be kind and considerate. I think we should be able to professional enough to get our points across without attacking each other.”
Perry believes that anytime a person is attacked, it works against building a bridge of trust, no matter what type of relationship it is. He insisted that he does not mind sitting down and talking to citizens, which is why he makes himself available after meetings.
Perry added that the class he took in D.C. was important and timely to the county, so he looks forward to elaborating at future meetings.
“I love Fairfield County and moved back to try and grow the county,” he emphasized. “I have a passion to helping the individuals of this county and sometimes it does hurt and it is sad to sit up here and see the way we act towards each other. It didn’t use to be like that and I would like to get back to the business of this county and treating people the way we would like to be treated.”