Simpsonville’s police chief resigned Wednesday, but the wild goings on in this Golden Strip city have never been really about Keith Grounsell.
It's been about who has the political control in Simpsonville. Grounsell was just the totem on the top of the poll for one side. Let’s call them The Ragers because everything that happens they react with to righteous rage. He was their shining star of misdirection that kept the light off their political vendettas. They have been around for over a decade, but were able to make their move because of Grounsell.
Basically, they used Grounsell’s good name to cover up their maneuverings because if anyone attacked them they could just say it was against Grounsell and people would come running. That side now has to wait about 18 months before it can likely legitimately fire back politically. Oh sure, they will create angry Facebook pages and continue to stew in their own little juices. But they have no recourse.
This is the group that used the original firing of Grounsell in December 2014 to springboard its agenda into gaining control of City Council by that November. This is the group that as soon as it got into office, fired the City Administrator. Funny, they and their supporters had no problem with that firing like they did with Grounsell’s.
However, those actions awakened a group of people who didn’t feel this was in the best interests of the City. That group got organized and rested control back from the opposition last November. Actually, that sentence doesn’t justify what happened. It was an outright clobbering of near landslide proportions as the Ragers lost all four races by 2-to-1 margins. The newly controlled Council came in and started doing its job despite the near constant stalling tactics of the remaining Ragers.
And now Grounsell has resigned instead of being fired Wednesday afternoon. The three remaining Ragers will, of course, try to make things impossible for the City for the next few months. The reality is all three of them will be up for election in the next election cycle in the fall of 2017. They can’t gain any votes. In fact, they could lose votes if they continue to play spoiler. The only real win they could in terms of strategy would be to have Grounsell run. If he wins, he can make things very interesting again. Those are some big ifs.
Until then, this was a political stroke of genius because The Ragers have no opportunity to win back City Council any time soon.