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Irmo Mayor Responds to Power Stripping Ordinance

Two Irmo town council members are joining forces in an effort to strip the Mayor of some responsibilities.
Credit: WLTX

Irmo, SC (WLTX) - Two Irmo town council members are joining forces in an effort to strip the mayor of some responsibilities.

On Friday, Irmo Councilman Barry Walker and Mayor Pro-Tem Harvey Hoots held a news conference to talk about an ordinance that would take away Mayor Hardy King's duties of presiding over meetings and signing or executing town documents.

"I'm just saying that there's certain duties that the mayor is not executing in a stately manner," Councilman Barry Walker said.

For the two, the last straw was the January 20th council meeting

"If you just go back and look at the tape of our last meeting it's not a pretty sight," Hoots said. "Mayor King attempted to, in my feelings, control the meeting to allow himself to speak on issues he wanted to speak on and deny others the ability to speak."

News19 caught up with Mayor King at his job, where he said he had expected this weeks ago. "In a way, I hope they do it," King said.

King said he feels that this move will benefit him in the future.

"If they want to vote for something like this and show their true colors to the public before we go into the election, it's just another bag I throw into my bag of tricks," King said. "It'll be brought back up and hopefully the voter will look and say, 'that's childish, that's petty, and we got to get rid of it.'"

For Walker, he hopes the ordinance will bring some respect and decorum into the council chambers, and however this turns out for King, he plans to keep it business as usual.

"If you're not going to preside over our meeting consistently by using Robert's Rules of Order to run our meetings, then we're going to have someone appointed who will run our meetings consistently using the decorum and civility that Robert's Rules of Order affords us," Walker said.

"If they want to demote me, fine," King said. "But as the mayor, which the term is still going to apply whether I'm sitting to the left or right or in the middle, I'm still going to say what I'm going to say," King said.

Irmo's style of government, what's known as the "weak mayor" system, actually favors the council already. Walker also noted that the council could still vote yes for the ordinance and end up giving the said duties to Mayor King.