COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - For governing bodies across the Midlands, an annual retreat to discuss civic affairs is a yearly norm. Yet leaders in Richland County are now facing scrutiny for their decision on where to hold their retreat.
On Tuesday night, members of the Richland County Council voted 9-2 in favor of going to Myrtle Beach for the council's annual retreat in January. The 11-member council along with select staff will be staying at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Resort.
County leaders say the cost of that two-night trip will be met with budgeted funds for the county council. Those who voted in support of the location say the venue was the cheapest option put before the council for an 'out of town' retreat.
Several members added that leaving Richland County for the retreat has proved necessary in the past so that leaders can remain focused on county business and not leave sessions at will.
However, not all members of the council agreed with that view. Seth Rose and Bill Malinowski both voted 'no' to the motion.
"There's absolutely no reason that you can't attend a local meeting," Councilman Malinowski said.
"We just finished spending I think it was [an] approximate $1.2 million to renovate council chambers but that apparently is not good enough to hold a retreat in," Malinowski added. "But we can hold meetings and the public can be there all the rest of the year but for some reason we can't-do it now."
The council is looking at Jan. 25-26, 2018 for the dates of its annual retreat.