Dorchester County Councilman Bill Hearn points out in his campaign literature that he is not accepting a pay increase that council passed a few years ago.
Age: 52Family: Married, two childrenEducation: Journalism degree, University of South Carolina, 1980; law degree, University of South Carolina, 1990.Occupation: Real estate attorneyPrevious elected office: Dorchester County Council District 2, 1995 to 2002; District 6 since 2008Why are you running for office: I love living here, and I just want the opportunity to continue to serve and make a positive impact. Since day one I’ve served with conviction and integrity. I’m going to vote my conscience and do what’s best for the citizens of the county.What’s the toughest issue facing the county: Continue to find ways to cut expenses and make government more efficient to avoid raising taxes in a time of decreased revenue.
He takes only $15,000 a year, the former salary, rather than the $20,000 that council approved. He also won’t use a county phone or credit card, and pays his own expenses, even on trips.
Age: 53FAMILY: Married, two childrenEducation: Associate degree in criminal justice from Trident Technical College, S.C. Criminal Justice AcademyOccupation: Owns a home-inspection business Previous Elected Office: NoneWhy he’s running for office: The citizens of Dorchester County deserve a choice on the voice that represents them. If only the incumbent runs every election, we are not providing a choice, which is what makes our country the best in the world.What’s the toughest issue facing the county: Financial responsibility, transparency and accountability to the taxpayers of Dorchester County; road systems, drainage, sewer and water systems and schools, which maintain a proper balance with growth as occurs, not years later.
“I decided several years ago to lead by example,” he said. “I think that’s what my constituents expect of us.”
Roger Goodman, who is challenging Hearn for the District 6 seat in the Republican primary, said he won’t refuse the extra money.
“No, because I’m actually going to do something,” Goodman said. “I know several business owners who would be willing to give him that out of their own pockets if he actually did something.”
Hearn said his record speaks for itself. He said he encouraged job growth by voting against fees that would have made it harder to start and maintain small businesses. He also cited all the roadwork going on around the county.
Goodman said the roadwork is years overdue and questioned whether Hearn had anything to do with it.
But his main charge against the incumbent is that he makes deals with friends behind closed doors and puts up with favoritism.
“Council spends money behind closed doors and then tells the public it’s a done deal,” Goodman said. “He’s part of the good ol’ boy network. When people report any corruption with the county, it just gets swept under the table. I’ve decided to ... run and ... do something about it.”
Hearn said Goodman has a history of making complaints that turn out to have no substance.
“Good ol’ boy has a connotation that’s inflammatory and it gets people stirred up, but there’s no basis in fact,” he said. “We (council members) don’t even get along that well to make the sort of deals he’s talking about. It’s easy to say that stuff, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Goodman was fired from his job as a constable. He said it was because he complained about alleged favoritism and other shady practices.
He sued the chief magistrate; the lawsuit is pending in federal court. He faults Hearn for not following up on his complaints.
Hearn said council called for an audit of the magistrate’s office and found nothing wrong. It’s not council’s place to follow up the other aspects of Goodman’s complaint, since the magistrate is under the state and not the county, he said.
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.