PICKENS COUNTY – Pickens County School Board Trustee Ben Trotter will serve as the new chairman for the coming year.
Trotter got the nod after several other attempts to name a chairman failed at a special called meeting Monday night.
Those nominated included Trotter, Trustee Jim Shelton and Trustee Judy Edwards, who previously held the seat.
Edwards, Trotter and Trustee Jimmy Gillespie voted to appoint the Liberty representative.
Trotter said he hopes to represent the seat well.
“I do not have an agenda,” Trotter said. “I didn’t have one (before I was appointed) and I don’t have one today. I would like to see the board unite and come to an understanding of what’s best for students in Pickens County.”
Trotter commended Edwards for her recent job as chairperson.
“I think Judy did a good job while she was there,” Trotter said. “I nominated her to be elected again for a second term as chairperson. Judy was elected in her district to do what the people of that district wanted her to do, and I think she did that.”
Trotter said Edwards ultimately did what she was asked by her constituents to do, and he believes that is what matters most.
“In this day and time, we’re getting away from what our citizens want us to do,” Trotter said. “Sometimes (elected officials) don’t listen, but Judy did. Do I think she did a good job? Yes, I do. Did I agree with her all the time? No, I did not. But, we all have to find a way to sit down calmly and try to figure out what is best for the students.”
Trotter said a chairman should be neutral and facilitate discussion among the board members.
“As chairman, a person sets the agenda and runs the meetings,” Trotter said. “That’s about all the authority he’s got. It’s up to the chair to make sure the meeting runs smoothly.”
For that reason, Trotter said it is important that he not enter his stint as chairman with an agenda.
“If you go in there with your agenda like you’re the only one who knows what should be done, then you’re starting off on the wrong foot,” Trotter said. “You can’t just say ‘we’re going to do what I want to do.’ We’re going to do some of what everybody wants to do.”
Trotter said the board has a difficult budget year ahead.
“Next year is going to be a tough year,” Trotter said. “I would have liked to become chairman during an easier time, but we’re going to have to find ways to work together and face some of these problems that will be coming up.”