Tag: West Columbia

The West Columbia Mayor Problem

West Columbia voters said a resounding “NO” to a change in government Tuesday, defeating an attempt by supporters of Mayor Joe Owens to change the form of city government to a strong mayor type by a 2 to 1 margin.

Now the council must decide if there are further steps to be taken regarding some of Owens’ alleged actions while in office.

Since first taking office, Owens may have assumed the duties of a strong mayor and more, under the current council form of government, in violation of state law.

West Columbia Strong Mayor Referendum Next Week

It is one week until September 30th, the day West Columbia voters will decide whether they want to change their form of city government to one with a strong mayor.

To add to the drama surrounding the vote, former West Columbia police Maj. Matt Edwards filed a lawsuit against the city claiming he was dismissed improperly and defamed by a subsequent report commissioned by city council.

According to several sources familiar with the city, Mayor Joe Owens gave Edwards a $10,000 raise shortly before his position was made redundant in a reorganization of the force last spring.

Owens, it should be noted, does not have the power to give anyone a raise on his own with the current council form of government. But, he did it anyway.

Is Strong Mayor Best for West Columbia

The City of West Columbia will hold a referendum September 30, 2014 to determine whether the city government should change to give current mayor Joe Owens strong mayor powers.

Apparently the real issue here is whether the voters of West Columbia agree with what already seems to be a de facto assumption of strong mayor actions by current mayor Joe Owens.

In the current council form of government, Owens is one of nine council members having one vote and no administrative duties for decisions of policy. The title of mayor makes him nothing more than first among equals, so to speak.