FOLLY BEACH — Elvis, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood keep watch over City Hall from their perch as larger-than-life murals on an outside wall at Planet Follywood.

They gaze toward the municipal building across Center Street that housed the office of long-time administrator Toni Connor-Rooks, who served four mayors during 17 years.

She is there no more, but not by her own choosing.

“I’m just here to tell you that I love you guys and love Folly Beach. I didn’t want to leave,” she said.

On Wednesday, the woman who supporters described as the backbone of the community was at a surprise party thrown at the bar to mark her reluctant departure from the position she held for so long. She fought back tears as cheers and applause erupted when she entered the place.

“Make me cry,” she said.

It had been a difficult 24 hours for Connor-Rooks, who on Tuesday night told Council that she did not want to put off a pending deal for her $100,000 severance package.

“I can not work under the present circumstances,” she told the elected officials. “I did not want to say that in public necessarily but I have tried and I have not been able to.”

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