WINNSBORO — Fairfield County Council recently approved county staff to correct a redistricting flaw from 2011 that left District 5 without representation on the Fairfield County’s School Board of Trustees.
The error placed incumbent Bobby Cunningham in District 6 by mistake, according to interim County Administrator Milton Pope.
After several pieces of information regarding district lines being redrawn were released by the press, Pope contacted Bobby Bowers, director of the South Carolina Budget Control Board to inquire about the issue.
Bowers looked into the matter where Cunningham had been drawn out of his district and stated in a letter to Pope that the error was inadvertent.
“It has been determined that there was an error in the addressing of the 911 road centerline file where both Mr. Cunningham and Ms. Marchella Pauling were placed in the incorrect districts on the map,” Pope read from letter written by Bowers.
Pope reminded council and the assembly that the 911 centerline file information is obtained from the state.
According to 911 road centerline file, the board believed Cunningham’s address was in the town limits of Winnsboro putting him in District 6. However, Bowers stated that is not truly the case.
“After talking to Mr. Cunningham and looking at the property tax record, his address is west of the town limits of Winnsboro in District 5,” Bowers wrote.
To correct the inadvertent error, Bowers suggested council pass an ordinance moving the geographical area that includes nine people into the same district as a school board plan passed by the General Assembly.
“Especially since there was no intent by county council to place two school board members in the same district this will make it easier for the county’s voter registration and election office with both county council and the school board districts being the same,” Bowers concluded in his letter to county staff.
Councilwoman Carolyn Robinson (District 2) put the motion on the floor for county staff to work with the county attorney to make those corrections.
“It was always our plan to always protect the incumbent in each district,” she stated.
The motion was passed unanimously.
Council Chairman David Ferguson requested staff to have the ordinance drawn up by the next council meeting (May 12).
Councilman David Brown (District 7) advised council that there is a deadline and the process would need be sped up to meet the guidelines.
“If we have to have some special meetings to get this done with the guideline time, then that’s what we’ll do,” Ferguson noted.