North Charleston City Councilman Bobby Jameson, who had threatened to stop attending city meetings for the remaining two years of his term, has decided to give City Council meetings another try.
“The mayor seems to think there will not be as much controversy on council as I think, so I told him I’ll come back,” Jameson said Thursday night. “But if it gets into a them-versus-us situation and fighting, I’ll stop going.”
Jameson, who has been on City Council for 10 years, became upset last week when most council members voted against him on a zoning issue he supported in Deer Park, in his council district. A number of Deer Park residents had spoken in opposition to the project, a Sunoco gas station, at council meetings.
Jameson said other members of City Council should have deferred to him, as has been the practice in the past. He blamed Councilman Ron Brinson, whose relatives live in Deer Park, for turning the Sept. 19 vote against him.
“What I told the mayor is that this issue has never been about Sunoco, but about the way the vote took place and what happened on City Council,” said Jameson, who did not attend Thursday night’s City Council meeting so that he could attend a viewing for a church member who had died.
At the meeting, Mayor Keith Summey said he had spoken with Jameson and urged him to continue attending the city meetings.
“When you have these disagreements you put them aside and move on to the next issue,” said Summey, who urged members of council to work together. “That’s just part of life.”
If Jameson did decide to skip City Council meetings there’s no requirement that he give up his council seat.
“There is nothing in state law that would compel him to attend, and there is no way to force him out of office (for non-attendance),” said Scott Slatton, public policy advocate for the Municipal Association of South Carolina.
Brinson has denied lobbying fellow City Council members to vote against Jameson and said he’ll welcome Jameson back when he returns, but also made a point of questioning Summey about Jameson’s intentions Thursday.
“This is something the public is very interested in,” said Brinson. “I would like to say that I don’t understand his actions or his attitude.”
Jameson last week had told constituents in Deer Park that if they had future land use concerns they should contact Brinson rather than him. On Thursday night, reached by phone after the City Council meeting, Jameson said he never planned to stop representing residents of his district.
“Whether I go to council or don’t go, I will always be there for my residents until the last day of my term of office,” he said.
Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or Twitter @DSladeNews.