FOLLY BEACH - In eight days, voters will decide whether to re-elect Mayor Tim Goodwin or replace him with former City Administrator Toni Connor-Rooks, whose sudden departure from the city made headlines a year ago.
Age: Not provided.
Family: Husband Tim, four children.
Education: Bachelors in business administration from N.C. State
Occupation: Retired Folly Beach city administrator.
Political experience: None
Why I'm qualified: "I have the proven experience to run Folly Beach having done it for 17 years. I will work with residents and all levels of government to achieve proven results."
Toughest issue facing Folly: "We need to ensure that we have financial stability to continue to renourish our beach. Our budget is out of control and we need to reign in wasteful spending."
Contact: 708-9474; email@example.com
The April 1 election comes as crews are working offshore to address one of this community's greatest concerns: beach erosion. The renourishment work is expected to be finished in a few months.
Goodwin and Connor-Rooks cited a host of different issues they would like to work on if chosen for the $9,600-a-year part-time job.
They are scheduled to meet Monday in the final candidate forum in the race, a forum that also will feature hopefuls for the city's three City Council seats up for grabs.
The race has one odd twist: Connor-Rooks resigned last year after 17 years as the city administrator, a decision that stemmed in part from a disagreement with Goodwin about her job. She signed an agreement saying she must repay a $100,000 severance sum if she were to resume employment with Folly, which some legal experts say would apply if she becomes mayor.
"There's been a lot of questions about that, on her part, about when she is going to pay the money back," Goodwin said.
Connor-Rooks said that's a non-issue in the race. "It has nothing to do with me running. I can run," she said, adding that if she's elected, "we'll see what comes up with that."
Goodwin said now that renourishment is taking place, the city can turn its attention to other improvements, such as landscaping its entrance on Folly Road, creating new bike and walking paths and possibly even a skateboard park.
"What do we want the city to look like?" he said, adding that he would like to plan for improvements eight or nine years down the road. "There's an opportunity to work to get grants and money for things that make living at Folly Beach better."
Goodwin said he also is hearing from voters concerned about any attempt to backtrack on what may be the city's single biggest decision during his four years as mayor: the 2012 ban on alcohol on the beach.
"Most of the people running try to say it's a non-issue," he said. "But a lot of people are saying we don't want it back. I stand by the decision personally because I've seen the quality of life improve."
Goodwin said another big issue in the race "is probably answering all the lies and falsehoods that have been spread." The Follitics Facebook page has seen hundreds of posts, though most seem to come from a small group.
"Social media is a terrible thing. You can cyber-bully anyone you want to," Goodwin said. "People put it out there and some people think if you read it on the Internet, it's the truth."
Connor-Rooks said if she's elected, she would restore the city administrator post - a post that Goodwin did not fill, though the city did create an executive assistant.
She also would push to end executive sessions, or at least give the public more information about what specifically is being discussed. "I believe in the people being able to be informed and know what their city is doing," she said.
She said she also would provide more oversight into the city's budget and is concerned that the city's parking and fine revenues have dropped. "There are just a lot of things pointing to the fact that we have to tighten our belts," she said.
And she said she would begin work earlier on the next beach renourishment project and would look to see what steps the city can take, such as groin maintenance and new sand fencing, to ensure that this new batch of sand remains in place longer.
She also vowed to work to improve the city's relationships with other governments.
For instance, Connor-Rooks said she also would urge City Council to pass an automatic aid agreement with neighboring governments, so other emergency vehicles don't have to wait for a specific invitation to help. She said Folly's lack of such an agreement "is awful because you're putting people and their property in jeopardy."
Connor-Rooks said she absolutely would not reconsider the alcohol ban on the beach. "It's not even an issue, and none of the candidates would even consider it. The majority of the people seem happy."
Folly voters also will pick three council seats being sought by incumbents Pennell Clamp, Paul Hume and Dale Stuckey and challengers Ed Iames, John F. Merritt, Jr. and D.J. Rich.
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.
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