ATLANTIC BEACH, SC (WMBF) - After a long series of court battles and protests, victor of the 2012 election Jake Evans has been sworn in as mayor in Atlantic Beach.
Evans assumed the position on Monday, July 1 after a decision from the Supreme Court of South Carolina denied appeals to the election results.
It's no secret Atlantic Beach has had some issues when it comes to it's town council, but newly sworn-in Mayor Jake Evans is looking to turn things around. Evans says he plans to seek the advice from neighboring towns on how to get things in order.
The last three mayors of Atlantic Beach all left amid controversy. Retha Pierce was charged with DUI back in 2012 and was charged with assault and battery for allegedly body checking town councilwoman Carolyn Cole.
Cole says the town in nearly $1 million in debt with money owed to the IRS, the South Carolina retirement system and Tyson Beach Group.
Evans was sworn into office July 1 and canceled the town council meeting scheduled for that day. He says he did so because of all the strife in their government.
"I see what can come out of a meeting with no attorney and I don't want to chair a meeting that's not going to be orderly," says Evans.
Word of the cancellations didn't reach other council members who were unable to hold the meeting in his absence without a quorum.
"If this is his first act, then that gives us all reason to pause," said Ms. Cole. She explained that she thinks Jake Evans has a real opportunity to establish himself as the new mayor, going about business very different than the past leaders, but hopes that missing this first meeting is not a view of things to come.
Ms. Cole could not say when the next town meeting would be held.
A sign outside of Town Hall stated the town office would be close indefinitely. Evans says he wants to attract investors to the area to help with the town's debt but he says the town's image needs to be changed first.