The town of Surfside Beach needs a forensic audit on its bureaucrats

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David Hucks
David Hucks
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

The recent issues around the Surfside Beach pier only highlight the reasons why the Town of Surfside Beach needs a full forensic audit on all town employees.

On October 7th, staff informed the town manager that a stop work order was necessary until signed plans were submitted for the three buildings at the entrance of the pier.

Those plans were submitted by fax, but unsigned.

A few days later, based on an anonymous tip to LLR, staff worked to shut down the entire pier project. The information the town operated from was suspicious at best.

Earlier this week, the stop work order on the pier was lifted. Yesterday, the stop work order on the three buildings was lifted as well.

During this entire episode, records could not be readily found. Inter-office town communications were muddled. Emails flew back and forth that were not thoroughly fact checked.


From the 2012 term of now deceased, former Town Mayor Doug Samples, through the Bob Childs administration, and into the current era with Bob Hellyer as Mayor, the drama around the administrative staff of the town has rarely subsided.


While the town has hired three town managers in the last short period, the underlying staff remains. A key member of Planning and Zoning was fired, then rehired garnering town-wide attention.

From the Police Chief Kenneth Hofmann, to inspectors, to finance, and even into planning and zoning, high drama piles on top of what should be simple governmental operations.

Hurricane Ian did practically no damage to the Surfside Beach pier, while four other Grand Strand piers were decimated. Yet, it was the Surfside Beach pier that someone felt a need to anonymously raise red flags to LLR.

Residents in Surfside Beach will never know who made that call, nor their motives for making such a call.


Few residents want to live in the past. At MyrtleBeachSC News, we agree.

However, it is often impossible to move forward, with the same crew, until past unresolved issues are clean and cleared.

Surfside Beach Town Manager, William P. Shanahan, needs a clear picture of which members of his team he can trust, and which members are not trustworthy. A forensic audit will accomplish that.


Surfside Beach is an awesome town, with outstanding residents.

The residents deserve an accountable team working at Town Hall.

The Mayor and key Town Council members have called for a forensic audit.

Kudos to all who appreciate and support bureaucratic accountability. A forensic audit will do no harm. It will do much to foster trust in local government.

UPDATE: This article originally stated that the Town Manager was implementing a process for a forensic audit. We removed this sentence as we are informed he has not to date.

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