Summerville Town Council postpones vote on changes to role of new mayor

VIDEO: Summerville Town Council postpones vote on changes to role of new mayor

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Summerville Town Council voted Wednesday night to table amendments that would strip newly-elected Mayor Wiley Johnson of some of his powers.

The changes were first brought to council in November, right after Johnson beat former Mayor Bill Collins in the election.

Wednesday's meeting was to have been the second and final reading of the ordinances.

But Johnson said the ordinances have not been presented in their final form as state law requires. Council could not decide on the correct thing to do, so they agreed to postpone any decision for next month's meeting.

Between now and then, the ordinances will be discussed between council members.

The proposed changes would give Johnson no more authority than a council member, would take away his role as town administrator, and decrease his salary by $30,000 in the next two years.

The majority of people attending the meeting said the ordinances are not in the best interest of the people.

"I think they should have left it as it is, the way it was with Mayor Collins," resident Marlene Mertes said. "And let him decide and let them decide afterwards instead of trying to push it through at the last minute. It just seemed deceitful. It may not have meant to be deceitful, but it looks like that to the public."

In the public portion of the meeting, 21 people came to the podium and spoke, with the majority speaking in defense of Johnson, saying the ordinances are hijacking his powers and negating their power as citizens when they voted him in.

The other people who spoke discussed other issues like road projects. No one at the podium spoke in favor of the changes.

Johnson also said he would like to look at all of the ordinances, because he feels some ordinances should be modified. He wants the ability to change them as mayor, and not have them changed for him on his first week on the job.

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