Race for Folly mayor pits Connor-Rooks against Goodwin

FOLLY BEACH - Former City Administrator Toni Connor-Rooks, who blamed Mayor Tim Goodwin for her departure, has filed to run against him in the April 1 elections.

Connor-Rooks said Saturday that she was not entering the mayor's race in an attempt to get even with Goodwin.

"I've never been that kind of person. I just don't think it's worth it," she said.

Connor-Rooks said that she wants to be mayor because she loves the island and its people and enjoyed being a public servant.

"I feel like I have a lot of good things to bring to the table," she said.

She moved to Folly in December so that she could qualify as a candidate for mayor. Connor-Rooks and her husband, Tim Rooks, put their Hollywood house on the market. They are renting an apartment on the island, she said.

"Win, lose or draw, it's up to the people. Whatever they choose is fine with me," she said.

Connor-Rooks said that during her first seven years as city administrator she lived on Folly. She then received permission from City Council to live off-island.

Last May, she accepted a $100,000 severance package at a City Council meeting where she said "present circumstances" necessitated her departure from the job she had held for 17 years. The next day, she confirmed that the problem was her unhappy three years under Goodwin.

"I can tell you now it was the most difficult time of my life in my working career," she said at that time.

Until Connor-Rooks entered the race, Goodwin was unopposed for a second term as mayor.

Goodwin said Saturday that he was not mean to Connor-Rooks, but he did expect her to work from City Hall instead of home.

"City Council expected her to do more grant writing and get more grant funds. She didn't do it," he said.

Goodwin said that her attorney approached the city and said she wanted to retire.

"You never know what the small-town politics will do next. We'll see what the voters think," he said.

Former Mayor Bob Linville said he asked Connor-Rooks to run against Goodwin.

"She was forced out, pure and simple. She didn't just resign," he said.

Linville said he hired Connor-Rooks as city manager.

"I hope she wins. Personally, I think she can," he said.

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