Power shift: Council members take early oath
Three Berkeley County Council members were sworn in during an unusual Jan. 3 ceremony that left much of the county’s administrative personnel in the dark.
Council members Phil Farley, Tim Callanan and newcomer Ken Gunn took their oaths of office at Farley’s Hanahan barbershop.
Usually the swearing in of the new council members occurs in council chambers on the first Tuesday of the New Year, but with New Year’s Day falling on a Tuesday this year, and the previous council terms expiring at midnight on Jan. 1, three council seats would have remained vacant for nearly a week.
“There was a significant gap between when the old council terms expired and when we would have had the new members sworn in, so we felt it best to do the ceremony now,” said council member Dennis Fish who helped coordinate the ceremony.
Calls made to Berkeley County seeking information about the impromptu ceremony were met with confusion.
“There’s nothing wrong with the swearing-in ceremony,” said Chip Boling, Berkeley County I.T. Director. “It would have been nice to promote it, though.”
The new edition of county council represents a significant shift in power as Gunn replaces former council member Bob Call as District 3 councilman. Gunn defeated Call in the June 12, 2012 GOP primary, an election Call disputed and eventually sued unsuccessfully to overturn.
With Call out big changes are in store for this new edition of county council as intimated by Fish.
“There will be some major changes at the January 7 meeting,” Fish said. “We’re going back to eight-member committees and we plan to follow through on the campaign promise to re-open the Goose Creek county office.”
The county’s Goose Creek satellite office closed in 2011.
Fish added that with the new county council lineup that it’s time put the bad feelings across council behind and move forward with the business of Berkeley County.
“We had Ann Farley, wife of the late Milton Farley, a former county council member, and former Berkeley County Supervisor Jim Rozier in attendance,” Fish said. “It was a nice symbolic gesture on the county moving forward for them to be there and show their support.”
The organizational meeting of the new county council was to have met on Jan. 7.
For the latest county council news see the Jan. 16 edition of The Independent or go to www.berkeleyind.com.