Council Members File Lawsuit Against Chapin Mayor

Chapin, SC (WLTX) -- A few members of the Chapin Town Council have filed a lawsuit against the town's Mayor and another council member.

The lawsuit alleges that Mayor Skip Wilson acted without council approval in hiring Karen Owens as the town's Director of Communications and Economic Development .

It's not the first time council and Wilson have butted heads over the issue.

In December, council members said Skip Wilson tried to hire Owens before being sworn in. They held a vote which negated the move.

Now as an employee, records show that she is paid an annual salary of $45,000 plus $14,875 in additions.

The lawsuit was filed by Council members Vivian Atkins, Robert Frick and Kay Hollis, and names James "Skip" Wilson, the town's Mayor, and Councilman Gregg White, as defendants.

In it, they allege Wilson hired Owens without council approval, and that they have tried to bring it up during council meetings but the Mayor is refusing to place it on the agenda.

They say all of that goes against one of the town's ordinances.

"He told me he had spoken to council after the positing of all the different jobs, and a review of the qualifications, and of all the candidates," Owens said.

"I plan to stay on working unless somebody decides that's not the case," Owens said when asked if she would resign.

Liesha Huffstetler has lived in Chapin her whole life, and said she believes the matter should be left up to council.

"If the council says he needs (Karen Owens), then it needs to go through the proper channels," Huffstetler said.

The matter is expected to go before a judge next week.

Wilson declined to comment.

Council members cited pending ligation as reason for not commenting.


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