JAMES ISLAND -- A standing-room only crowd in Town Hall applauded Thursday after Bill Woolsey was sworn in as the town's new mayor.
But the night was not without discord
Outgoing Mayor Mary Clark, who did not attend the ceremony, said afterward that the swearing-in was timed to ruin her birthday and a party she planned to throw Thursday for the town staff.
She accused Woolsey of taking a cheap parting shot at her by telling the crowd at the swearing-in ceremony that he'd been denied a copy of the town's budget for fiscal year 2009-10.
Woolsey said he requested a copy of the budget as part of an information-gathering effort. He said the town staff told him Clark was behind the staff's insistence that he not be given a copy unless he "signs a confidentiality statement and not tell anyone what's in the budget until after Sept. 1."
Woolsey insisted the budget "is public information," and the refusal is illegal. "I consider that a travesty, and we will not be operating the town in that fashion anymore," he said.
Clark said the swearing-in ceremony was supposed to take place Aug. 31, but the Aug. 3 election winners decided to move the ceremony up because someone was going to be out of town. "They decided to have it on my birthday," she said.
Asked about Woolsey's claim about a statement of confidentiality being required, Clark said, "I am not going to answer any of his charges on my birthday or after hours."
Woolsey, Clark said, rudely and needlessly attacked her. "He may be a Citadel man, but he certainly is no gentleman," she said.
"Tell Bill Woolsey that the campaign is over. He doesn't have to trash me anymore," Clark said. She added he's "been in Town Hall every day since he was elected," and after the swearing-in, the news media rang her home phone about Woolsey's comments.
Clark said her wish is "to fade out into the sunset and go on about my affairs" and not be bothered about town business.
Outgoing Town Councilman Joe Qualey administered the oath of office to Woolsey and newly elected council members Carter McMillan, Robin Welch, Karen Wilder-Smalls and Leonard Blank. Blank was the only incumbent re-elected on Aug. 3.
Reach Edward C. Fennell at email@example.com or 937-5560.