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.
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.
“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.