Lengthy conflict predicted in Chapin

tflach@thestate.comApril 17, 2014 

Skip Wilson

— A lengthy power struggle is likely in Chapin, some Town Council members said Thursday after reducing new Mayor Skip Wilson’s control over their agenda.

“I’m afraid it looks that way,” Councilwoman Bibi Atkins said.

Her prediction came after adoption of proposals that Wilson contends are improper, setting the stage for a second court battle over control of items that council members can consider.

The package includes allowing council members to obtain consideration of items that Wilson doesn’t favor, rejection of his effort to bill Town Hall $7,100 for a legal skirmish with three council members and paying some expenses he questions.

Wilson and his ally, Councilman Gregg White, were absent from the session after suggesting the other three council members are violating a March 19 court decision that Wilson largely won.

The mayor – who couldn’t be reached for comment – is pushing for Atkins and council members Robbie Frick and Kay Hollis to be found in contempt of court for adoption of the measures even the ruling gave the three an opening to challenge his refusals to consider their ideas.

Wilson’s control over council agendas can be overturned if a majority of the five-member council wants something considered, the decision said.

Atkins, Hollis and Frick reject Wilson’s contention that they are trying to frustrate changes he says were authorized when voters elected him Nov. 5 as the town’s first new mayor in 32 years.

Each said they recognize growth means changes are coming in the Lexington County community of 1,700 residents.

The problem for Wilson is “his methods.” Atkins said. “It’s his own fiefdom – that’s the way he has tried to run things.”

One example of that, the three said, is Wilson’s attempt to bill the town for the court battle while they are each paying their share personally.

The three said they’ve heard nothing form Wilson despite his promise to try to reduce tension while the mayor said they’ve ignored his effort.

Meanwhile, town clerk Adrienne Thompson said she’s heard nothing from Wilson after he threatened her with suspension for not withdrawing public notice of the meeting to force its cancellation.

Thompson, a council appointee who has held the post for 13 years, said she is caught in the feuding while trying to do what her job requires.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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