News

September 10, 2013

Thousands of Residents Want Strong Mayor Vote

COLUMBIA,S.C., - More than two thousand signed petitions were carried into Columbia City Hall Tuesday afternoon in hopes of being certified in enough time for voters to decide if they want to continue using the current "Weak Council" or "Strong Mayor" form of government.

ABC Columbia news spoke to all three Mayoral Candidates about their reactions to them. Mayor Steve Benjamin first introduced the resolution last month. During that council meeting it was voted down 3 to 4. The mayor says it is the most accountable form of government and has proven to work well in major city's, but admits the decision should be the voters.

"It has always been about the voters and their fundamental right to vote that's so essential to our democracy."

Councilman Moe Baddourah, who voted against the measure says, citizens still do not know enough about the various forms of government to make a decision and says he questions the rush for the measure to appear on the ballot.

"The mayor presented this August 6th, and then a week later we are expected to vote on this, it just makes you wonder."

Mayoral candidate Larry Sypolt, says he is not completely against the change, but does have concerns.

"I want term limits in place and a safety valve if we are going to go that route...we have to think 16, 20, 24 years from now do we want to have someone in place we don't want there."

All of the petitions will now have to be certified at least 45 days prior to the election before we will know if it will in fact appear on the November ballot.

City Council plans to hold a special meeting to take up the issue again Wednesday night at 6 at the Eau Claire Community Center.

ABC Columbia
Contact Rochelle Dean at: rdean@abccolumbia.com