Chapin, SC (Paul Kirby) – The town of Chapin took the first step necessary to solidify the management structure that was put into place over the past four years by former mayor Skip Wilson. He had created the Utilities Department and hired Andy Metts as its director. He had also created a Planning and Zoning Department and hired Chris Clauson as its director. The issue was, those were done by the strong mayor that Wilson was. Now, the town is simply drafting ordinances that cleans all that up and makes it as official as it should be. The first reading of those ordinances passed tonight without much discussion.
Recently, Metts’ title was changed to director of public works and utilities, a title that better describes what all he does and what he will do more of in the future. Metts already oversees employee workers who cut some grass around town and will probably do more to keep the town looking good in the future. Thus, the public works part of the title was added. Now, if all the readings of the new ordinance pass, there will be a Department of Public Works and Utilities in the town’s official ordinances and that ordinance will have a provision for a director with the title Metts currently holds.
Likewise, Wilson had created the Department of Planning and Zoning which he was legally able to do as a strong mayor. After Wilson was heavily criticized for creating that and the hiring of a director for that department as un-needed, the town is advertising to fill the job Clauson left open when he resigned in January, 2018. The plan to officially add that department and a director for it by ordinances will also have a first reading tonight after the new administration found that that too was a much-needed position and department for the fast-growing town.
The other position that was created by Wilson and was held by Karen Owen was the director of communication and economic development. That job is currently done through contract by Nicholle Burroughs, but the economic development duties haven’t been added and instead, she is doing the job of special event planning. Those duties include planning the upcoming Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, the Community Day of Service, and the Labor Day festival in September. Word from inside the council is that this department will also eventually be created by town ordinance and will return to full-time status.
Much of this is little more than housecleaning. The ordinance will make clearer the management structure of the town that is growing by leaps and bounds. They have had several studies done and most of the positions were suggested or provided for by those planners. Experts we have talked with say that eventually, if the town continues to grow, it may even need a town manager or administrator, a position Skip Wilson basically took over the past four years. Mayor David Knight has made it clear he doesn’t want to have that much responsibility on his shoulders or spend that much of his retirement years working in that capacity for the town.
There will need to be several more readings of the ordinances and a public hearing prior to them actually becoming a part of the town’s official codes, ordinances, and structure.