Editor’s note: The following is a letter David Ferguson, chairman of the Fairfield County Council, sent to Sen. Creighton Coleman and Rep. Mary Gail Douglas on Feb. 8. It is being reprinted here with his permission.
Council has recently become aware of the intentions of the State to discontinue staffing the State Department of Employment and Workforce service in many rural counties and particularly in Fairfield County. Even though we should have been on the ball and done something sooner, to put it mildly, County Council is appalled. Every governmental unit in the great state of South Carolina is struggling with their finances. Council understands that money is a scarce commodity and sometimes tough decisions must be made; however, we totally oppose this decision. South Carolina is a resilient State. To quote the title of Dr. Robert Schuller’s book: Tough Times Never Last; Tough People Do. We will make it through these difficult times; and when we do, it will be shameful if history records that South Carolina solved its economic woes by exploiting the weak and vulnerable.
The insensitivity to the plight of unemployed and underemployed at a time of record unemployment leaves us speechless. In Council’s opinion, the State should be increasing, not decreasing, services to people who are in crisis in their lives. We feel the intent of unemployment services is to assist individuals during difficult times in their lives, but this proposal imposes even more burdens on them. Transportation is already a barrier to the unemployed, and this new proposal will only exasperate the existing inadequate public transportation situation.
Our Council, and we hope every other council in the State, vehemently opposes this scheme; and we encourage you both to share our opposition and use your office to ensure this proposal will be defeated.
Please let me know your individual feeling on this issue; and if there is anything further we can do to express our disapproval of this matter, please let any member of Council know.
David L. Ferguson
Fairfield County Council