EDITORIAL: A Question of Accomplishment
Here’s the City of Clinton’s Scoreboard:
The Cotton Loft is operating.
We did build two spec buildings and sold one, with new pipe in the ground and a new road.
We did rehab an uptown building and did win a historical award.
We did develop a separate Police Department and Fire Department and rebrand the city’s police vehicles.
We did take over a drive-through and designate it for city utility bill payers (the former Founder’s credit union building that now is not a tax-paying structure).
And that might be enough for 2 years.
BUT: We sent back grant money designed to rehab the DE Tribble Building.
We never spent money designated for the Park at Sterilite.
We have not moved dirt at the Recreation Complex.
We are not building a trail at Millers Fork.
We are not building a bike path on South Broad Street.
We are not reducing the cost of residential electricity.
The clock is not fixed.
At some point, you have to accomplish something. Any business can have a lot of “irons in the fire.” But this is not the same as accomplishment - and that is what the City of Clinton is struggling with right now. Every month at the city council meeting it comes up, some member says, “First I’ve heard of it.” Clearly, the council needs to have prepared for it, a read-ahead packet.
We need to bid projects and let the contractors go to work. We need a city recreation manager to guide the recreation complex and hire a maintenance and programming staff, and book acts to the amphitheater should it be built. We need to empower our department heads to accomplish goals - with the exception of an assistant city manager, the city jobs are the same under current manager Bill Ed Cannon as under former manager Frank Stovall.
The council needs to speak up. List all the projects that the city wants to accomplish and receive a monthly progress report. If there’s no progress don’t be afraid to say, right out there in public, “That is discouraging.”
Remember council votes direct the actions of the city manager. The city administration’s performance will rise to the level of the council’s expectations.
Why are we celebrating average?
Everybody wants to be better than average.
Average is normal, average is forgettable. But consider the assessment of District 56 Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields. When measuring the success of schools, he said, “Average means you’re right where you ought to be.”
All District 56 schools rate Average or above. We are 1 of 15 school districts in South Carolina (81 districts) to be able to say that (report cards can be accessed by visiting SCReportCards.com)
"I hope that parents and communities will use report cards as a tool to engage in important conversations about the previous year's successes and challenges that schools across our state face every day,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. "We are continually working to ensure that our accountability system accurately reflects the hard work being done by educators to meet the needs of all students." 17% of the state’s schools dropped by at least one overall rating.
With its Excellent rating, Clinton Elementary School has earned the Palmetto Silver designation. It is the only school in Laurens County to earn a silver or gold designation - it would be interesting to assess how many “schools of poverty” are silver or gold.
So, for District 56, Average is a starting point. We can aspire to even higher ratings in the future. We can delve into Innovative Learning. We can say to our teachers and students a heart-felt, “Well Done.”