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August 5, 2014

Ballot coming on bid to weaken Chapin mayor

Political opponents of Chapin Mayor Skip Wilson will get a referendum this fall on changes that would significantly weaken his control of Town Hall.

Political opponents of Chapin Mayor Skip Wilson will get a referendum this fall on changes that would significantly weaken his control of Town Hall.

Petitions seeking the ballot contain 192 signatures from voters who live in town, Lexington County election officials said Tuesday. That’s 46 more than the minimum of 146 signatures needed.

The ballot promises to be a showdown between Wilson and some Town Council members locked in a power struggle since he took office Jan. 7.

Town leaders will decide soon when the vote will occur.

“We’re still working on it,” said Councilwoman Kay Hollis, who supports the proposed change.

County election officials recommended the vote take place Sept. 30, in conjunction with another taking place in West Columbia.

The vote in Chapin must occur no later than 90 days after the petitions are presented to town leaders.

Efforts to reach Wilson were unsuccessful.

The change sought would shift many decisions on spending and staff from Wilson alone to the entire five-member council.

That would replace a setup in effect since 1976 when the town of 1,700 residents was much smaller.

Wilson has failed in an effort to settle the discord through mediation.

He is making changes that he says voters authorized last fall in selecting him as the town’s first new mayor in 32 years.

Other town leaders are upset with what they say are repeated unilateral actions by Wilson that overstep his authority and neglect what council members favor.

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