Columbia Free Times
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Judge Sides with Chapin Mayor in New Ruling

By Al Dozier
Thursday, May 8, 2014 |
Circuit Judge Thomas Cooper Wednesday gave Chapin Mayor Skip Wilson a major victory in his legal battle with three members of town council who have been challenging his authority.

Cooper said in an opinion that Wilson has the authority to “enforce order and enjoin the contrary conduct” of council members Bibi Atkins, Robbie Frick and Kay Hollis as it relates to the judge’s March 18 order to dismiss a lawsuit questioning the mayor’s ability to control council agendas.

Cooper declared the special called meetings of April 10 and 17, 2014, illegal because the members did not present the agenda to the mayor for his approval. He also declared all actions and votes taken at those meetings invalid and without force or effect.

“If in the eyes of the voters, the mayor does not properly exercise his authority over the agenda, then they will hold him accountable at the ballot box,” the decision reads.

The opinion comes on the heels of a council meeting held Tuesday, May 6, that abruptly ended when the three council members declared adjournment and walked out of the meeting.

Wilson was preparing to present a report before a crowded chamber on his suspension of Town Clerk Adrienne Thompson, but as he approached that agenda item the three council members moved for adjournment and left the meeting. The council members had voted at an earlier meeting to reinstate Thompson.

Thompson’s actions and other allegations of improprieties are now under investigation by SLED.

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