MOUNT PLEASANT -- Planning Commission member Steve Brock said Wednesday that he was not reappointed to another term by Town Council on Tuesday because he had questioned the legality of council actions.
"Aside from challenging council on issues of law and its favoritism for developers over the public interest, there is not an event or absent qualification that could be cited to justify punitive action by denying reappointment," he said in an e-mail.
Brock requested a state attorney general's opinion that he said confirmed that council's approval of Central Mount Pleasant violated the law, a contention that the town attorney disputed.
Brock has a lawsuit against the town alleging council violations of the state Freedom of Information Act, which the town attorney also disputed.
"Going back to 2007, council attacked me for asking the SC Attorney General if the Town violated the law by approving the Central Mt. Pleasant development without Planning Commission approval. According to the AG, they did violate it," he said.
"Council reacted to the AG opinion by secretively crafting a letter requesting I resign, for 'lack of respect' in requesting the opinion, and then leaked that letter to the press before I received it. That was a punitive action, as the Freedom of Information Act suit I filed states. The decision not to reappoint me is more of the same," he said.
Council appointed Howard Chapman to fill Brock's Planning Commission seat. Chapman is executive director of the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority. Brock's last meeting as a Planning Commission member will be Wednesday.
Councilman Gary Santos supported Brock's reappointment to a second four-year term.
Santos said he has nothing against Chapman serving on the commission, but he noted that a commission member is usually reappointed when he or she is doing a good job.
Brock regularly attended commission meetings, made a significant contribution to them and researched issues thoroughly, Santos said.
"He's worked very hard and is very much a professional. I did think that he should be reappointed. He's done a good job," Santos said.
Councilman Nick Collins also supported Brock.
Councilman Joe Bustos said his vote against reappointing Brock was not influenced by Brock challenging the legality of council's Central Mount Pleasant vote or by Brock's lawsuit alleging council's Freedom of Information Act violations.
"I think we picked the best of the applicants. There were just so many well-qualified applicants. (Brock) was among the qualified applicants," Bustos said.
Referring to Chapman, Bustos said, "He's eminently qualified."