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Chapin Officials Shocked by Lexington County Councilmember’s Outburst

Local government dispute confrontation.

Chapin Officials Shocked by Lexington County Councilmember’s Outburst

Chapin, SC – A recent outburst by Lexington County Councilmember Charli Wessinger at a Chapin council meeting has left local officials shocked and angry. Chapin’s Mayor Al Koon, council members, and administrative staff witnessed Councilmember Wessinger lose control during an exchange that primarily targeted Chapin’s Town Administrator Nicholle Burroughs.

Unexpected Appearance and Unsettling Conduct

Mayor Koon described Wessinger’s behavior at the meeting as “very unprofessional and absolutely shocking.” Wessinger’s presence at the meeting was unexpected, as she had previously expressed her intentions to distance herself from Chapin’s affairs. The mayor stressed, however, that Councilmember Wessinger is always welcome to attend.

Roots of the Discord

Wessinger’s outburst was allegedly triggered by a briefing given by Burroughs on an ongoing dispute with Lexington County. The dispute involves the County’s insistence that Chapin, along with other municipalities, adopt the County’s zoning and development rules, which many consider an arm-twisting approach to get the county’s way. Chapin officials contend their rules align with local needs not necessarily reflected in the broader county’s codes.

Breakdown in Communication

Mayor Koon expressed deep concern over the County’s cancellation of a 46-year-old agreement regarding road and storm drainage maintenance within city limits. The cancellation was declared without warning and is set to take effect by the end of February 2024. An offered replacement agreement, which officials have been advised to reject, threatens to undermine Chapin’s authority in its planning and zoning decisions.

According to Mayor Koon, attempts to initiate face-to-face dialogue over the abrupt changes were largely dismissed by Councilmember Wessinger and County representatives. Furthermore, the selective re-offering of the old agreement to certain municipalities but not others, including Chapin, raised allegations of favoritism within the County Council.

Next Steps

Despite the volatility of the situation, Mayor Koon remains hopeful about reaching an agreement that respects Chapin’s autonomous governing structures and properly documents maintenance obligations. However, the mayor explicitly stated that the disrespectful treatment of Chapin staff by Councilmember Wessinger is not conducive to effective cooperation.

As of June 7, Lexington County officials have invited Chapin representatives to a meeting at the County Administration Building to discuss the ongoing dispute. The outcome of the meeting remains uncertain, with officials wondering whether genuine negotiations will occur or if the County will continue its dictatorial approach.


Chapin Officials Shocked by Lexington County Councilmember’s Outburst

HERE Irmo
Author: HERE Irmo

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