By Theresa Stratford for The Island Connection
There will soon be a vacancy on the Seabrook Island Town Council, but it was decided that a special election to fill the space will not take place.
Councilmember Skip Crane is expected to officially resign from his post at the beginning of May.
During the Ways & Means Committee Meeting on April 13, Seabrook Island Mayor John Gregg asked the Town Council if they would prefer to hold a special election to fill the void, or continue with the Council vacancy until swearing in following the next general election, which will be held on Nov. 2.
Under state law, a special election must be held on the 13th Tuesday following the occurrence of a vacancy, which is essentially three months later.
Under the Town Ordinance, swearing in following the general election would occur on Jan. 4, 2022.
Roles would require assumption by continuing members of Council until swearing in of a fourth member.
Expenses and filing would be required if a special election were to take place.
Gregg polled the Town Council at the Ways & Means meeting on whether they felt comfortable with the vacancy until the general election or if they felt a special election was necessary.
Councilmember Jeri Finke stated that she felt comfortable with the vacancy, but did question Town Administrator Joe Cronin on how the super majority would work for passing an emergency ordinance with a vacant seat on Council.
Cronin reiterated that emergency ordinances are enacted by the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the council present.
Councilmember Barry Goldstein questioned the cost of a special election and if there was an expression of interest in the open seat.
Town Clerk Faye Allbritton said that there are expenses for running ads in the newspaper which are required and there are fees for the poll workers to Charleston County. She noted that these two expenses would total a little over $2,000.
Councilmember Finke said, “I would just like to add that we are still dealing with this pandemic and gathering is something we should avoid doing at this time.”
Gregg answered councilmember Goldstein’s question about anyone showing interest in the vacancy. “It hasn’t been announced, nor have we solicited so no one has expressed interest, but they also haven’t been given the opportunity yet to express interest.”
Councilmembers Patricia Fox and Goldstein were both comfortable with leaving the vacancy, and Gregg agreed that he was also comfortable with the vacancy until the general election and the swearing in following the general election.
Crane has served on Town Council since 2015. He served as the town’s liaison to several community organizations, including the Seabrook Island Property Owners’ Association, Camp St. Christopher, Bohicket Marina and the Seabrook Island Club. From 2017 to 2019, he was responsible for coordinating the town’s communication and strategic planning efforts. He was the chair of the town’s public safety committee from Nov. 2017 to Dec. 2020 and served as the mayor pro tem from November 2019 to December 2020.
Gregg concluded, “Skip Crane has brought an inquisitive approach to discussions of Council that has added greatly to Council’s responsibility to serve our residents. I had the benefit of his contributions to the Town’s Public Safety Committee and the Town has had the benefit of his leadership of that Committee following his re-election to Council in 2019. Members of Council wish him well with his relocation; he will be sorely missed here.”
In retirement from his council ship, Crane will be relocating to the Greenville area to be near family.