The West Columbia City Council held a first vote that would strip the city mayor of some of his responsibilities.

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West Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A West Columbia Councilman said he wanted to answer some questions regarding a specially called city council meeting Monday evening.

The council meeting, focusing on whether to renew the contract of the city's police chief, got off topic. A packed room watched as Mayor Joseph Owens and other council members bickered.

One of the topics was whether to renew the contract of the city's police chief, but much of the night was spent debating four ordinance changes that would strip the mayor of some of his responsibilities.

Councilman Tem Miles said the changes were needed because he said Owens met with another council member without notifying anyone else on the City Council.

"I simply want to see the powers of the presiding officer shifted to someone who's accountable to council."

Miles said the meeting took place after the council voted to extend the contract of the City's Police Chief, Denniss Tyndall, at a meeting March 4.

The contract was again being discussed because the vote was brought up out of order, prompting a second vote Monday night.

"He's conducted special committee meetings without notifying the public, without notifying council," Miles said Tuesday. 'I believe he received information from the public at large, or from different departments."

For his part, Mayor Owens challenges the moves, saying he will consult legal counsel and maybe the state's attorney general as well.

The ordinance changes must now pass a second vote at another council meeting.

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