Langford votes against placement of Ten Commandments monument
By John M. Ayers
The Gilchrist County Commissioners discussed on Monday the proposed Ten Commandment monument that Old Town resident Joe H. Anderson, Jr. will be donating to Gilchrist County.
Gilchrist County Administrator Ron McQueen told the board that Mr. Anderson’s representative had been in touch with his office involving the donation of the monument and where it will be placed in Gilchrist County.
McQueen explained that Mr. Anderson had asked if Gilchrist County would have the monument located on the courthouse square in the area of the corner of US 129 and SR 26.
The commission asked Gilchrist County attorney John McPherson what he thought about the placement of the monument.
McPherson had told the board in a previous meeting that he felt Gilchrist County would have less legal problems with the monument being challenged if it was placed in the memorial park on the south side of the courthouse across SE First Avenue.
The commissioners then reviewed a copy of monument placement guidelines, which included an ordinance passed by the Levy County Commissioners involving placement of the Ten Commandment monument in Bronson.
Commissioner Kenrick Thomas made a motion to have the Ten Commandments monument placed on the courthouse square in the area of US 129 and SR 26. Commissioner D. Ray Harrison, Jr. agreed with a second.
Chairman Durden called for a vote and the board split on this motion with the action being approved by a 4-1 decision. Commissioner Tommy Langford voted No on the motion and explained that he felt approval would lead to greater problems and future litigation.
The commission asked the county administrator to meet with Mr. Anderson’s representative and make clear that the donation of this monument will include the expenses of legal representation if the monument is challenged in court.
McQueen said that he would give the commission a report during the August 15, 2011 meeting.