The Williamson County Board of Commissioners Budget Committee barely passed a resolution Monday to form a task force to determine whether there is “substantial need” to alter the Williamson County seal, which has been the subject of controversy due to its inclusion of a Confederate battle flag in its upper-left quadrant.
The Williamson County seal, created in 1968, features symbols in quadrants, including a Confederate flag and battle cannon to represent the county’s history, a lamp to represent education, a horse and cow to represent agriculture, and a stained-glass window and Bible to represent religion.
After many citizens wrote to the commission, asking about changes to the seal, the commissioners drafted a resolution to form a nine-member task force to receive “input from citizens and other stakeholders,” determine the various impacts of altering or not altering the seal, and make a recommendation to the commission regarding “whether there is a material and substantial need for the seal to be altered and, if so, the specific historical or other compelling interest(s) that support such need.”
This task force would include the following persons:
• One representative of Williamson, Inc., who shall serve as the chair
• Representatives of two families who have lived in Williamson County for at least three generations (at least one of which should be an African American family)
• One representative of the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County
• One representative of the African American Heritage Society
• One African American business owner or manager, or educational professional
• One African American religious or community leader
• One representative of the Williamson County Convention and Visitors Bureau
• Williamson County Historian Rick Warwick
District 10 Commissioner David Landrum proposed an amendment to the resolution that would limit the task force’s action to the quadrant containing the Confederate flag and battle cannon, which Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson said has been the point of controversy as noted in citizens’ communications to the commission.
“I think it’s very important that we keep the integrity of the seal,” Landrum said. “The people that drew it up (were) all well-meaning, but I think that one quadrant needs to be what’s examined here.”
District 2 Commissioner Judy Herbert mentioned she has received emails from “people complaining about the Bible” in another quadrant of the seal.
The committee did not pass the amendment, voting 2-3 with Anderson and district 9 commissioner Chas Morton voting for the amendment. Herbert, district 8 Barbara Sturgeon and district 6 commissioner Paul Webb voted against the amendment.
Landrum shared he intends to propose this amendment again in the full commission meeting. Webb said he appreciated Landrum’s amendment, but he voted against it because he wants to get rid of the seal altogether.
“I’ve checked with the county attorney, and we’re not required by county statutes or state statutes to have a seal, so my recommendation to the task force is to do away with the seal and eliminate some of the controversy,” he said.
The committee passed the original resolution 3-2 with Anderson, Morton and Webb voting for and Herbert and Sturgeon voting against it.
The full 24-member county commission will give a final vote on this resolution at its full meeting on Monday, July 13, at 9 a.m.