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Public speaks out against decision by ‘Gang of Four’ to fire Surfside Beach town administrator

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A number of people turned out for Monday's special Surfside Beach Town Council meeting. (Source: WMBF News) A number of people turned out for Monday's special Surfside Beach Town Council meeting. (Source: WMBF News)

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Surfside Beach Town Council held a special called meeting Monday night to discuss last week's meeting that is being called "a fiasco" by community.

At last week’s meeting, four council members voted to fire town administrator Micki Fellner and deputy administrator Jon Harrah.

While some supported the council members, many in the audience at Monday’s meeting referred to them as “The Gang of Four.”

Public comment lasted for a long time. Almost everyone who got up to speak  spoke out against the actions of the four council members, calling them "criminals" and accusing them of making an embarrassment of the town and dividing it.

"You did not like Ms. Fellner and you put a target on her back,” one concerned citizen said. “You made it clear you were going to do everything in your power to get rid of her, and you did. At many meetings, you tried to publicly humiliate her. It's hard to humiliate someone who has more integrity than the four of you put together."

The town council chose police chief Kenneth Hofmann as the acting town administrator for the time being. Mayor Bob Childs says he hopes Hofmann won't hold the position for more than two or three days.

"I'm hoping this will literally just be for a couple – a few days," Bob Childs said. "It's not going to be long. We need somebody that can sign certain papers, and Chief Hofmann we thought was a good choice to do that."

Hofmann says he's happy to step into the role, but he says he hopes a more permanent replacement will start soon.

"I'm just concerned for the welfare of the town, the stability of the town and its operations – day to day operations – without there being someone in place to help with those day-to-day operations," Kenneth Hofmann said.

Childs says the town will look into hiring an official interim administrator later this week.

The Municipal Association of South Carolina is helping to identify people that could act as an interim administrator, said Eric Budds, the association's deputy executive director. The town will then determine if any of those individuals meets their needs. The list will consist of mainly retired or semi-retired people within the state that have governmental experience.

Copyright 2018 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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