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Business Community Asks City To Re-Boot City Manager Search

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Fox Simons Jr
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The City of Myrtle Beach paid Slavin Management Consultants $60,000 to lead the process of finding and vetting candidates for a new Myrtle Beach City Manager. Tomorrow, one of three candidates is expected to be chosen for the position.

Slavin Management Consultants is an independent management consulting firm located in Norcross, GA and operates a nation-wide management consulting practice.

This week, the City of Myrtle Beach announced its 3 key finalists.

Anthony Caudle of Wilmington, NC. Caudle is currently the Deputy City Manager of Wilmington with over thirty-four years of experience. Caudle is also a member of the International City Management Association. 

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Caudle‘s Eminent Domain Legal Problems

News reports from Wilmington’s Port City Daily state:

WILMINGTON—The city of Wilmington is headed to court–again–after changing the terms of an eminent domain deal that was part of the public-private River Place project.

The city is now litigating the eminent domain seizure of property behind several Front Street businesses, including Front Street Optometric Care at 273 N. Front St. and Chadworth’s Columns at 277 N. Front St. That’s in addition to another suit between the city and developers of the Waffle House building, litigation that could cost the city as much as $350,000.

This was Caudle’s signature effort and was reported in May 21, 2018.

Concerns around eminent domain have been ongoing in the City of Myrtle Beach since the promotion of current City Manager John Pedersen.

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Terrence R. Moore of Atlanta, GA. Moore is currently the City Manager of College Park in Atlanta. Moore has over twenty-eight years of experience in local government

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QUESTIONS ABOUT CRIMINAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Texas TV Station KBTX reported the following in October 2018: A finalist for the city manager spot in College Station is responding to personal and professional accusations of wrongdoing leveled against him while working in New Mexico.  Moore was the target of a police investigation involving allegations of domestic violence involving his ex-wife, but no charges were ever filed because the District Attorney said there was insufficient evidence to proceed.

In 2010, Moore reimbursed the city of Las Cruces for some costs associated with two business trips he took in 2009— after a complaint was filed over one trip and an attorney requested documentation about the other.

Moore was also criticized for having his administrative assistant babysit his children – while she was on the clock and being paid with public money – so he could attend a city council meeting.

Brenda Bethune
Mayor Brenda Bethune With Senator Luke Rankin

While most would state that candidate Moore should be considered innocent until proven guilty on criminal domestic violence, that was not Mayor Bethune’s take in June.

Stating that she was a victim of CDV, Mayor Bethune went on camera publicly denouncing a political opponent of Senator Luke Rankin for issues she insinuated were related to CDV. Court records and the court system later fully exonerated Rankin’s opponent. Rankin’s opponent was never once charged with CDV, yet the Mayor campaigned vigorously as if he had been.

She has yet to apologize to Rankin’s political opponent.

Were Moore’s CDV concerns vetted in the search process? The city has not spoken publicly on the matter.

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Jonathan Fox Simons, Jr. of Myrtle Beach is currently the Deputy City Manager of Myrtle Beach.  He has been with the city of Myrtle Beach since 2015 when he was hired as an assistant city manager.

THE DOWNTOWN REDEVELOPMENT TAG – CULTURED MYRTLE BEACH

Just this past Saturday, current City Manager John Pedersen let all of city council know that Simons had agreed to be placed on the DRC board along with Pedersen and former Myrtle Beach City CFO Mike Shelton.

Legal statements, on the record, made by former and current city officials state that the “DRC = City of Myrtle Beach”. These statements were made under oath by Former Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes, Former DRC Head David Sebok, as well as the Deposition of John Pedersen.

The obvious link between the DRC and the city is pointed out by Myrtle Beach City Councilman Mike Lowder in the video just above.

WHAT DOES THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY THINK?

Calls into City Council have been constant this week asking councilman to re-boot the search process entirely. The general consensus is that a cultural shift is needed at City Hall.

We spoke with downtown city businessman Tuvia Wilkes. Wilkes stated, that among those finalists, Simons Jr. was definitely the best candidate. He said, “If he is hired, my hope is that Simons would move away from the past policies of John Pedersen and bring about the changes needed for our city.”

Wilkes noted that the city currently has over 120 empty storefronts. These vacant buildings existed long before the 2020 Covid Crisis. Myrtle Beach is the largest oceanfront depressed beach in America. Most, in the business community, hold Pedersen and his policies responsible for those vacancies.

Brand issues are now highlighted by the business community ongoing.

The closings this week of well known national chains including Food Lion on Highway 501, CVS on 5th Avenue South, and Shoneys on 1206 South Kings Highway add to the concerns of those who support downtown growth and development.

FORMER MAYOR MARK MCBRIDE SOUNDS OFF ON CITY MANAGER SEARCH

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David Hucks is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area. David is the lead journalist at MyrtleBeachSC.com

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