By Stan Welch
Pelzer Town Council’s only female member, Olene Bear, has informed her fellow councilmen, as well as The Journal, of her intention to vacate her Council seat at the end of this calendar year. Her resignation will take effect after the November general elections, during which two other seats are available.
Bear is the senior member of the council and was elected to a four year term at the last election. “I really didn’t expect to win a four year term, and I just feel like it’s time to turn it over to someone else.”
While she insists that Mayor Roger Scott’s continuing health issues did not influence her decision, he has been effectively absent since a stroke in January. In addition, he is currently undergoing dialysis, and has attended only one meeting of the Council this year. His condition has left the council with only four active members; a problem that surfaced recently, when a vote on having some tree work done in the park ended in a tie, leaving the issue unresolved.
The text of Bear’s written intentions, which she delivered to the Journal office Monday, is as follows. “After much thought and consideration, I will be resigning my position on the Pelzer Town Council, effective at the end of this year. It has been an honor to serve our town for the past four years. To all of the people who voted for me, thank you for giving me this opportunity. I will continue to work and do whatever is needed to help our town.”
Both Anderson County Election Commissions head Katy Smith and the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s expert Jeff Shacker agree that a special election will be necessary to fill Bear’s seat, since her resignation will not be in effect by the general election. The seats currently held by Gary Pridmore and Eddie Waits will be up for grabs.
Books are currently open in Pelzer for anyone wishing to run for one of those two seats.
Shacker opined that if Bear resigned immediately, a separate vote on her vacated seat could be placed on the general election ballot. Even so, none of the candidates elected in November will be installed until January of 2020; so Bear’s immediate resignation would leave the town with only three active members, if Mayor Scott’s health doesn’t improve enough to allow him to resume his duties.
By Stan Welch