In their successful re-election bids to Irmo Town Council, both Barry Walker and Kathy Condom credit the FaceBook page “Citizens of the Town of Irmo, SC” as the determining factor in both their winning campaigns. The page was created by Irmo resident, Tony Oravec, about a year ago in an effort to provide a space for citizens to get information about concerns in the town.
The parking ban ordinance proposed by council back in July of this year and the resulting backlash from the town residents was the impetus that propelled membership on the page to mushroom from a then 90 members to well over 1450 members today.
Oravec said, “The page was created to give people a place to express concerns that they felt weren’t being listened to by the majority on town council.”
Councilman Barry Walker said that he recognized the potential of the page to actually hear what the constituents were saying and to listen to the concerns of the citizens.
“The page was a great place to connect with the citizens and have a meaningful dialogue with them. It provided a real-time opportunity to really get an understanding of what people wanted from their elected representatives.”
Councilwoman Kathy Condom agreed with Walker’s assessment of the page. She said, “I love it”.
Condom said that the page was a force that, in her opinion, provided her the support to run for re-election after being encouraged by so many of its members to stand strong for them.
Not all council members are enamored with the page. According to Oravec, all of the town council were members on the page early on, but after receiving heavy criticism on the proposed parking ban ordinance, both Mayor King and Councilman Mark Pouliot decided to remove themselves from the page. Mayor King has often referred to the page as “The Bully Page” or the “Citizens of Everyway” page.
Regardless of whether you liked the page or not, it is undeniable that the page, at least in this election was a force to be reckoned with and could be in future elections as well.