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Post on roads board unfilled

Posted: June 4, 2014 - 2:36pm

COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s third congressional district still has no representation on the state transportation board, and the person who was up for the spot says state lawmakers rejected him because he bucked his caucus when he was in the House of Representatives.

‘‘Apparently I made some people mad,’’ said former Rep. Harry Stille, of Due West. The delegation voted to start over with a new call for candidates.

When the selection process starts over, Stille, a retired Erskine College professor, said he will not reapply.

The district, which stretches from Edgefield County up the Savannah River, has had no one representing its interest on the eight-member board since R. Eddie Adams resigned at the end of last yearto take care of his wife, who was ill.

A screening committee had initially approved a handful of qualified candidates to the third congressional district delegation. Only Stille remained, however, after others withdrew. One candidate dropped out after learning that the commissioner post did not come with health insurance. Commissioners also receive no salary.

On Thursday Stille was rejected 12-6, with Sen. Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, and Rep. Bill Hixon, R-North Augusta, among those who voted no.

After the vote, Rep. Brian White, R-Anderson, said he had attended high school with Stille’s children and had nothing against him.

‘‘A lot of the ‘no’ votes was the fact that that was the only way we had of opening it back up to have another slate of candidates,’’ said White.

Hixon shared White’s reasoning for voting against Stille: ‘‘To me, I didn’t think that it was a fair shake for us, the whole district, (to select) the odd man left standing. And I said, ‘Let’s open this thing back up.’’’

The residents of Edge-field and 10 counties north deserve their state roads advocate, too, said the lawmaker.

Although the General Assembly adjourns this week, lawmakers expect to be able to fill the district's vacancy on the DOT board before the new session convenes in January.

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