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SUNSET BEACH—Sunset Beach Mayor Richard Cerrato is accusing the town board and staff of “backroom games” after a council member was appointed to serve on a regional transportation group.
At its Jan. 7 meeting, council unanimously approved appointing Mike Williams, rather than the mayor, to serve as the town’s sole representative on the Grand Strand Area Transportation Study (GSATS) technical advisory committee.
When Cerrato subsequently showed up at a GSATS meeting on Jan. 11, he said town administrator Gary Parker told a meeting official Cerrato wasn’t supposed to be there.
Cerrato faulted the town board for not clarifying at its Jan. 7 meeting that council intended for Williams to be the only representative at GSATS meetings from there on.
Cerrato accused the board of deviously and “cleverly avoiding” his removal and claimed it violated open meetings law.
He said the board doesn’t have authority in closed session to remove him from the committee. He also claimed council violated the open-government meeting law by failing to announce his removal in open session.
In response to a Jan. 21 email Cerrato sent to council members, Parker responded in an email the following day that council voted on the issue in open session at its Jan. 7 meeting.
Parker said he also stated at that time that mayors typically are appointed to the GSATS committee, but a council member can be appointed as the board wishes.
It was after that that Williams was appointed, Parker said.
“I don’t know how you missed that, but it was done,” Parker wrote to Cerrato. “Also, it was Mike himself who announced at the GSATS meeting that he was the town’s designated committee member.”
The matter was on the agenda because a resolution was requested, Parker wrote.
“You really are a case, mayor…backroom decision,” Parker added. “This is the same kind of stuff you put in that diatribe you call a taxpayer newsletter.”
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.