Embattled council votes to attend group mediation program - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Embattled council votes to attend group mediation program

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After the prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, the Chapin Town Council meeting Tuesday night opened with some controversy. Eventually the council members, some who haven't gotten along with each other in several months, agreed to attend a mediation program.

At the beginning of the meeting, council member Kay Hollis attempted to add something to the agenda, and cited Roberts Rules of Order in her attempt.  Mayor James "Skip" Wilson, Junior, refused to allow the addition to the agenda.

Recent council meetings have been the scenes of arguments, dissension and disagreements between some members of council and Wilson.

Among the business of the meeting, Council voted 3-2 to attend a mediation program.

"As you know, this town council has experienced challenges in getting along," said Wilson, who looked into a program offered by the Midlands Mediation Center through the United Way of the Midlands.

"We have had challenges in meeting resolutions, providing solutions to issues," he said. "This is an opportunity for the town council to show the residents, as well as the businesses that we're serious about running the business of the town and the operations of the town to the benefits of the businesses and the citizens of this town."

Hollis, who voted against the proposal, said she wasn't ready for mediation.

"I'm not willing to do this until we appoint a town attorney." When Wilson asked her why not, she replied, "Because I don't trust you."

"So this is what this is for, Ms. Hollis," Wilson responded.

"We're hurting the town by not doing this as soon as possible," said Council Member Gregg White.

Among other business, council also voted to accept criteria for the selection of the town attorney, including the hiring decision would be by unanimous vote by council.

In the absence of a town clerk, the Town hired a Lexington County court reporter on what Wilson called as an "as-needed" basis to keep record of the meeting's proceedings. Longtime clerk Adrienne Thompson was suspended by Wilson in April.

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