At a campaign event on Tuesday, August 19th, held at Mr. Doughnut, Myrtle Beach City Councilwoman Mary Jeffcoat and Mayor Brenda Bethune told residents that the DRC had voted to disband itself. The two elected officials told the group the DRC would be closing over the next few months.
Said Mary Jeffcoat, “About three months ago, the DRC voted to disband itself.” Said Mayor Brenda Bethune, “It was an awareness of, it [The DRC] wasn’t working.”
Said Mayor Bethune, “It has to be the property owners who are involved. It can’t just be this random board of people. It has to be the people who are affected and it has to be structured the right way.”
However, that “random board of people”, known as the DRC, walked back Bethune’s and Jeffcoat’s comments today with local media.
DRC CORRECTS THE RECORD
As the Sun News reports today: Chuck Martino, the DRC board chairman, said speculation about its closing is premature, but he is planning to present a potential restructuring plan to city council during its September 5 workshop.
WHO’S IN CHARGE?
DRC leaders John Pedersen (left) and Chuck Martino (right)
In that same news story: City manager John Pedersen, who serves as DRC treasurer, confirmed Martino’s explanation.
Lauren Clever, Executive Director of the DRC
Lauren Clever, Executive Director of the DRC, told The Sun News that these discussions are all a positive movement and in no way indicate that the DRC has been unsuccessful or failed.
Clever sent a letter to city council members Tuesday detailing the board’s recent discussions and indicating that they “seemed to favor a scenario where a new group could arise organically from the business and commercial community that would continue the enhanced focus on the downtown area.”
Aug. 19: Bethune and Jeffcoat tell locals DRC will close
Local resident, and former Superblock property owner, Linda Lack can be heard on camera above telling Mayor Bethune and City Councilwoman Jeffcoat, “The DRC, in conjunction with the city, has already done some things that were, in my opinion, illegal and certainly unethical. We’ve got to get rid of that dirty taste in our mouth. Most of us who have any knowledge of what the DRC has done has that taste and I am not speaking out of ignorance or not being informed. I am informed and I am not ignorant.. “
Contradictory email sent by John Pedersen to City Council?
In an email sent to Myrtle Beach City Council, City Manager John Pedersen states: DRC agrees to focus on Model 1 – No DRC. Council makes all the decisions. Current DRC staff become straight-up City employees. That the DRC as an organization would close itself down and go out of business.
DRC STAFF ABSORBED BY CITY
According to the Sun News: Clever also notes in her letter that she’s been discussing with Pedersen the possibility of incorporating DRC staff into the city staff “to ensure there is no gap in effort in the implementation of the downtown master plan that you have already initiated.”
All discussions are still preliminary, but Pedersen said that under that scenario, Clever and the other two DRC staffers would temporarily operate under the city manager’s office and report to him.