Cheraw to hold Referendum on Changing its Form of Government
On the Tuesday, November 8, 2022 residents of the Town of Cheraw will have the option to vote on a change in the form of government. Currently the Town of Cheraw operates under the Mayor-Council form of government with an elected mayor and six council members. Residents will have the opportunity to change the form of government from Mayor-Council to the Council Manager Form of Government by voting in November.
What is the process for this change?
In August 2022 Town Council passed Ordinance No. 2023-07 to initiate a referendum on changing the form of government. When residents vote in November 2022 they will be asked:
“Shall the municipality change its form of government from Mayor-Council Form to the Council-Manager Form”.
If a majority of residents vote yes, then the form of government will change from Mayor-Council to Council-Manager. If a majority of residents vote no, then the form of government will remain Mayor-Council.
What are the forms of municipal government in South Carolina?
South Carolina Law allows municipalities to have three forms of government:
- The Mayor-Council form of government, commonly known as the Strong Mayor form. Cheraw currently operates under the Mayor-Council form of Government.
- The Council form, commonly known as the Weak Mayor form. This form of government will not be on the ballot in November.
- The Council-Manager form. This is the form of government proposed by Town Council through Ordinance 2023-07.
What is the difference in the Mayor-Council and Council Manager form of government?
The structure of a Mayor-Council form of government is laid out by Title 5 Chapter 9 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, which prescribes the powers and responsibilities of an elected mayor and council. These include:
- The ability to appoint, suspend, or remove all municipal employees except as other provided by law or personal rules. He may authorize any administrative officer who is subject to his direction and supervision to exercise these powers with respect to subordinates. For example, the Mayor may authorize the director of Public Works to be responsible for hiring or firing all Public Works employees.
- The Mayor is responsible for the direction and supervision of all municipal departments, offices, and agencies unless otherwise provided by law.
- The Mayor is responsible for presiding at council meetings and voting with other council members.
- The enforcement of ordinances.
- Prepare and submit the annual budget to Town Council. Each year the Mayor meets with Department Heads, the Town Clerk-Treasurer, and the Town Administrator to prepare a draft budget. This draft budget is presented to Town Council for final approval. The Mayor is responsible for administering the budget.
- Provide financial records to the Town Council. This information is provided in the monthly Town Council meeting packet.
- Provide reports on the operation of municipal departments. This information is provided in the monthly Town Council meeting packet.
The Town Council in the Mayor-Council form of government is responsible for:
- Setting policy for the Town.
- Adopting an annual budget for the operation of the municipality.
The structure of the Council-Manager form of government is outlined by Title 5 Chapter 13 of the South Carolina Code of Laws which prescribes the powers and responsibilities of an appointed Town Manager and the Town Council. Under this form of government an appointed Town Manager would be responsible for:
- The ability to appoint, suspend, or remove all municipal employees and fix the salary of municipal employees except as prohibited by law. He may authorize any administrative officer who is subject to his direction and supervision to exercise these powers with respect to subordinates. For example, the manager may authorize the director of Public Works to be responsible for hiring or firing all Public Works employees.
- Prepare the budget annually and submit it to Town Council for adoption. Under the Council Manager form of government the Town Manager would meet with Town department heads and the Town’s Clerk-Treasurer each year to prepare a draft budget for adoption by Town Council. The Town Manager is responsible for administering the budget.
- The Town Manager is responsible for submitting an annual financial and activity report to Town Council and other times as required by Council.
- Keep the Town Council advised of the financial condition of the Town and future needs of the Town.
- Perform other duties as required by the Town Council.
The Town Council would be responsible for:
- The establishment of municipal departments, though the administration of said departments in the responsibility of the Town manager.
- Appointment and removal of the Town Manager and setting the Town Manager’s compensation.
- Adopting the annual budget.
- Adopting Town policy.
- Council members are prohibited from involvement in the appointment or removal of any employee under the manager.
- Council members are expressly prohibited from giving orders to any municipal employee and are only able to deal with department heads and employees through the Town Manager.
The Mayor would be responsible for:
- Under the Council-Manager form of government the Mayor is a member of council but presides over council meetings.
Questions related to the upcoming referendum may be directed to Town Hall, by calling 843-537-7283 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.