Mayor: Clerk campaigning while at work
Mary Katherine Murphy Staff Writer
GIBSON — Gibson’s town council members spent half of a brief town meeting on Thursday leveling and rebuffing accusations regarding next month’s municipal election.
“I’ve got some concerns about the way our elections have been handled,” said Mayor Ronnie Hudson, who will be challenged in the election by town clerk Myra Tyndall. “The town clerk has been sitting in the town office asking people to vote and passing out brochures, asking people to vote for her on our time, and that’s not right.”
Hudson cited a state statute prohibiting municipal employees from subjection to political or partisan influence while on duty. Tyndall declined to comment on the accusation.
In Gibson’s elections, Charles Fletcher, Belton L. Chavis, Jr., and former Town Manager Ken Haney will run, along with incumbents Lula Cottingham, Charles Webb, and Pete Wilkins.
“In plain English, Myra, on company time, is sitting in the office passing out things for you, Mrs. Cottingham, and Mr. Webb and asking them to vote for the four of you, then telling them not to vote for the other three because if the other three get elected she wouldn’t have any support as mayor,” Hudson told Wilkins.
“I think any political campaigning that’s going on should be done outside employees’ hours and it shouldn’t be discussed here tonight,” said town attorney Tim Snead.
During the public comment section of the meeting agenda, both Hudson and Haney accused Tyndall, Wilkins, Webb, and Cottingham of holding private meetings in violation of the open meetings law.
“I’ll be the first one to speak up, that’s a lie,” Wilkins said. “The person who brought that up should stand up; I’d like to meet that person and call him a liar to his face.”
In other business, the council discussed the possible acquisition of items from the McColl Museum in McColl, S.C. for display in the planned Gibson depot museum.
“It really won’t cost the town anything,” Hudson said. “We’ve got some stuff from the town of Gibson, but you could take what we’ve got from the town of Gibson and put it on one wall, and we want a museum with a lot of stuff from surrounding areas, anywhere around here.”
The board will research insurance options for the artifacts and continue discussion of the subject at the next meeting. To date, $4,000 has been raised to assemble the museum.
“We need to get a firm handle on insurance and have that ready before we take possession of anything to protect the town from any liability we’re not ready for,” Snead said.
The council also approved an expenditure of $1,900 to replace a water flow meter.
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