Atlantic Beach votes to oust council member

Josephine Isom
Josephine Isom

ATLANTIC BEACH, SC (WMBF) There was yet another big government shakeup in the town of Atlantic Beach Friday Night.

Atlantic Beach Town Council voted 3 to 1 in favor of forcing Council Member-Elect Josephine Isom to forfeit her seat during a special public hearing to decide her fate on council.

The majority voting argued Isom hasn't done her job as council woman since she was voted into office in June, and South Carolina State law says a municipality has the right to remove a council member if they fail to perform their duties.

Mayor Retha Pierce, Council Woman Windy Price and Mayor Pro-Tem Carolyn Cole argued Isom hasn't done fulfilled her job requirements because she has yet to take her oath of office,  and hasn't attended a single council meeting since winning her election.

Isom was not present at Friday night's public hearing.

Cole stressed the vote wasn't about personal grudges, but getting the town back on track and in line with the law.

"The disrespect for the law and the constant piece of activity that says 'look for ways to circumvent the law' [has to stop]," Cole said.  "That's not how we govern the people, and we've got to get to that place where it's just about the law."

Councilman Jake Evans, who won the mayoral election in June but has yet to take that position because of legal challenges by Price and Pierce, voted against removing Isom. Because of Price and Pierce's legal challenges, if Isom had taken her oath, she would have replaced Jake Evans on town council, leaving him with no vote on town issues until the court battle is resolved.

Evans said he thinks the vote was unfair.

"This is about getting me off council, but that's not going to happen," Evans implored. "The appeals are going to come back in my favor, I'm going to be the mayor of this town and I would think they would have a pretty hard time…to sit a council person down and have another election."

Cole said after Friday's meeting they will begin the process of removing Isom from her office. She said they hope to hold another special election in the near future to fill her council seat.  Isom would have to successfully appeal her forfeiture in court to maintain her position on council.

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