The day that my family and I moved to North Carolina in 2008, I celebrated with glee. I greatly desired to cross the Georgia state line and leave behind the “good ol’ boy network.” I was so discouraged by people being granted special permission, access, permits, jobs, careers, etc. – based on who they were related to, where they were from, etc. I believed that Macon County was more cosmopolitan, and that the composition of the populace was so varied and multi-cultural that I would truly find a melting pot in my new home county. My husband and I became involved in local activities and came to love our new community even more.
Therefore I was thrilled the day I noticed the advertisement for the position of county planner – especially when I noticed that County Commissioner Kevin Corbin mentioned that the search for a new county planner would involve looking for someone with experience and appropriate qualifications.
My son, you see, is studying to become exactly that: a county planner. He has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in History, and is halfway through his doctoral program in Policy Studies, with a concentration in Rural Economic Development/ Applied Economics. His desire was to continue his classes part-time in order to begin working in his field of study. Recently, he completed a community profile project for the town of Pendleton, S.C., wherein he examined their historic growth, the current demographic compilations, and predicted effective growth trends for the future of their town. He has also worked with analyzing economic impacts of the Sandhills farmer’s market in Columbia, S.C., and a potential community supported fishery/rural kitchen in the McClellanville, S.C. area. He has spoken with one of the Board of Directors of the Macon County Fair about developing an impact analysis of the county’s fair and proposed ways of exploring its growth potential as part of an agritourism cluster.
Wow! Are you impressed? As you can probably ascertain, we are extremely proud of our son, and we look forward to what the future holds for him. His future, however, will not take place in Macon County. You see, he was not hired for the position of County Planner. As a matter of fact, he was not even interviewed. He never even received a phone call. Instead, we found that the County Planner position was filled by someone who was … “native” to the area (Macon County News, 5/17/12). Our family is certain that our new County Planner, Mr. Matt Mason, will be an asset to the county. He is probably a deserving young man who hopes to plan and live his future in his hometown. But does a bachelor’s degree of Landscape Architecture serve to make him more qualified for the job than the young man who was putting the completion of the last two years of his doctorate’s degree on hold to return to Macon County – to help improve the county that has become his home?
Ahhh well, you would have thought that he could have garnered an interview, eh? Maybe the “good ol’ boy” network is alive and well in Macon County after all. I’m pleased that I am not applying for a job with our county in the near future. You see, I’m not “native” either. I’m just a Georgia girl, wondering if the grass wasn’t so green on this side of the state line after all.
Kim Crunkleton — Otto, N.C.