Myrtle Beach’s planning commission and city council agreed Thursday that the two groups should work together, despite the turmoil of the last two months that saw the council oust the commission chairman and two commissioners resign.
The two sides discussed how to collaborate during a joint workshop Thursday. But some of the former commissioners remain skeptical of the arrangement.
Bill Pritchard, the commission’s former chairman, said he was contacted by City Manager Fox Simons about his possible removal. Pritchard said he was out of town when Simons reached out and when council voted to oust him on June 28.
Pritchard said he was given an ultimatum – resign or be voted out by council. He refused to resign.
Council voted 5-1 to remove Pritchard on June 28. Councilman Mike Chestnut cast the lone vote against the Pritchard’s removal. Philip Render was not present for the vote.
“When you have two individuals who were either removed or given an ultimatum about resigning or being removed, that was not a very, in my mind, a proper way to handle the transition that has occurred here,” he said about he and commission member Don Shanks being given the same ultimatum.
Shanks resigned on June 23 after a meeting with Simons and city attorney William Bryan. In that meeting, Shanks was told city council met in executive session and listened to tapes from previous planning commission meetings.
Shanks said he was told he and Pritchard would be terminated because they were in opposition to the city’s agenda.
Shanks, who has spent nearly two decades on the planning commission, disagreed.
“It was sort of the emphasis I needed,” Shanks said. “I don’t want to play games. I’ve never played games before and I’m not going to do it now.”
While Shanks has not heard the tapes, Pritchard has, confirming he received four tapes with more than five hours of audio stemming from meetings earlier this year – one in January, two in April and one in September 2020.
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