Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.
On Tuesday, Oct. 17, after the main session of the Madison Legislative Delegation meeting at the Madison County Courthouse, Rep. Halsey Beshears took time to talk with Greenville Mayor Calvin Malone, Greenville Town Council member Brandi Seabrooks and others in an informal discussion. Beshears expressed concern over some issues that have arisen from the Greenville Town Council over the last several months. Beshears said word was spreading among the State Capitol and the Governor's office, and it was not showing the town in a very good light because of the lack of leadership exhibited by the Council. Beshears offered to assist the Greenville Council in any way he could.
Mayor Malone talked about the Town Charter and some of the vague language contained therein and problems that have arisen because of that vague language. Beshears offered to provide examples of other town charters which could be used as a guide for Greenville.
Mayor Malone asked for advice on how to conduct a meeting. Beshears suggested that Malone obtain and study a copy of Robert's Rules of Order, which has long been considered the standard for conducting meetings of groups of any size.
Then the issue of participating in the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States was brought up by Beshears. For over a year, Seabrooks has refused to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States, even going so far as checking her cell phone while others participated in the pledge. “I understand there are some people kneeling or not standing for the Pledge. What's that all about?” Both Malone and Seabrooks laughed and said that no one had been kneeling during the pledge. Another citizen standing nearby then said “No, but there are Council Members who refuse to participate in the Pledge.”
“And what difference does that make?” responded Seabrooks as she turned to the citizen.
“It does make a difference and I'll tell you what difference it makes,” said Beshears. “As elected officials, we took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. When you don't participate, you are breaking that oath, and you could be removed from office.”
“You mean I could be removed from office for not participating in the Pledge?” asked Seabrooks.
“Yes,” responded Beshears. “I would hate to see you get into trouble [over this].”
Beshears gave both Malone and Seabrooks his contact information and urged them to get in touch with him. Beshears even offered to come to a Town Council meeting, should his schedule allow, in order to help the Council go about performing the work of the Town.