Chapin Town Council Says Mayor-Elect Skip Wilson Cannot Hire New Employee

10:33 PM, Dec 30, 2013   |    comments
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Chapin, SC (WLTX) -- Chapin Town Council held a special called meeting, after an email surfaced saying a woman was offered a job by the Mayor-Elect before he is even sworn into office.

The email, dated Dec. 23, is signed by the current Executive Director of The Greater Chapin Chamber of Commerce, Karen T. Owens.

In the email, she writes "Skip [Wilson] has asked me to serve on his staff as the Director of Communications and Economic Development and I have accepted his offer." 

The email goes on to list a target date to "wind down with the Chamber" as January 10.

Owens declined comment, and doors at the Chamber's office were locked late Monday afternoon.

The town's attorney addressed the issue Monday evening, and said Wilson is not legally able to offer her the job.

"He has no authority to do anything," Town Attorney David Knight told News19. "He's just a citizen just like you or me. We don't have authority anymore than he does, and he has no more authority than we do to hire anybody to do anything. He's not in a position, even if he were mayor, he needs to go before council and present a job description."

Wilson is not scheduled to be sworn into office until Jan. 7.

A legal opinion written by Knight says Wilson was attempting to hold a "special meeting" of Town Council ahead of the January 7 date on January 2 at 9 a.m. The meeting was for the "sole purpose of taking the oaths of office," Knight's written opinion reads.

"We have to have an ordinance before a new position is approved, a new person is hired, or anything else," said Town Council member Vivian Atkins.

Council voted on Monday that he is not allowed to do that either.

"Council approved all the leal opinions in my memorandum one-by-one," Knight said. "All eight points were favorably received and the motions were unanimously passed."

Current Mayor Stan Shealy, who has been in office for 32 years, is scheduled to end his term Dec. 31, according to Knight.

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