Editorial: Sullivan County Commission antics an embarrassment

Editorial Board • Sep 25, 2019 at 2:00 PM

“Attempted coup” conjures visions of failure.

Perhaps that’s why some bristled at that two-word term after we used it to describe antics at the Sullivan County Commission meeting last week.

Out of the blue, a group of commissioners attempted to remove Richard Venable as County Commission chairman and replace him with Commissioner Hershel Glover. (For the record, Commissioner Todd Broughton nominated Glover; Commissioner Alicia Starnes seconded.)

Whether you like or dislike Mayor Venable personally or politically — or any of the commissioners for that matter — is immaterial in this case. What is material and interesting and perhaps more than a little telling is that Broughton and company chose that particular meeting for their plot.

You see, while this little attempted coup was in motion, Mayor Venable was absent. He was at home resting and waiting for surgery the next morning.

How convenient that the mayor was absent, unable to address the commission as a whole, or individually those seeking to replace him as chairman.

How convenient that Broughton and company chose to blindside most of the commissioners with this not-so-subtle power play. Which makes us wonder how long this little coup attempt had been in the planning stages. These overthrow attempts don’t happen without some planning. So, when, where and how did the planning take place? Legitimate questions, we think.

Those of us who attended the Regional Economic Forum recently heard some sobering numbers about our region. Compared to our neighbors who are doing pretty darn well, this entire region struggles in too many key economic indicators.

Shenanigans from commissioners trying nothing more than a power grab — and make no mistake, that was the intent of Broughton and company — do not help matters in Sullivan County, nor in the region as we try to lift ourselves up and improve our economic position. Instead, it leaves a handful of county commissioners with egg on their faces and the rest of us shaking our collective heads in embarrassment.