Community members from the poorer sections of Horry County voted Tuesday night to oust a Waccamaw EOC board member whose initial election was ruled out of compliance.
Abdullah Mustafa was elected to represent "Area One" of Horry County in August 2009, but an audit from the state of South Carolina found that election illegal and suggested it be "re-assessed."
The Waccamaw EOC is an organization that provides utility assistance and other services to the poor in Horry, Georgetown and Williamsburg Counties.
The audit, which cited several compliance issues, led to several months of problems with the agency which temporarily lost funding and shut down.
It eventually re-opened, and the board, it seems, has been making strides to correct the compliance issues.
Among them is the re-assessment of Abdullah Mustafa, which took place Tuesday night in a town-hall meeting.
Those in attendance, about 85, were asked to vote "yes" or "no" on whether to keep Mustafa as a board member.
After a 30-minute process, the votes were tallied, and Mustafa was out.
"Well, we won. Victory was here tonight. Mustafa is voted off the board," said Donna Crowley who works for the EOC and also voted.
"He's against the agency, and he was against the people, and it's not fair," said another man, James B. Williams.
Mustafa, however, said the re-assessment process was illegal, and he said he's not going anywhere.
"As sure as I'm standing here, I'll be there," he said of his attending the next scheduled board meeting.
"A real re-assessment is people who voted you in are the ones who do the re-assessment," Mustafa added.
Mustafa said he felt his position was re-assessed because there are certain staff members and other board members who want him out.
One of Mustafa's supporters, Minnie Randall, yelled, "It's not fair! It's not fair!" when the counting was over.
"If that's out of appliance (sic), why don't all of the board members have to go through it again?" Randall asked.
The compliance issue, according to the state's Office of Economic Opportunity, was that the original election wasn't held in accordance with the EOC's bylaws.
Mustafa ran against and beat Montell Burton, and Burton said he felt only certain people knew about the original voting process.
"It kind of stacked the odds up against the public and myself as a candidate," Burton said.
Burton, like others in attendance, feel the non-compliance issues have taken the focus off helping people and instead cast the agency in a negative light.
"We got to get this thing in order so we can move on, because if not, these people are suffering," Mr. Williams said, "and not getting help."
The board is asking for a re-assessment of a second member, Wade Sessions, on Wednesday night.
It will be held at 6:30 at the Huckabee Heights Center on Leonard Avenue in Conway, and according to the EOC, the following are encouraged to attend:
"Anyone from Horry County, Area One is invited and encouraged to attend to be polled, especially if you attended the original elections that were held at the Darden Terrace Apartments in Conway, SC. Area One of Horry County include the towns and neighborhoods of: Aynor, Conway, Bucksport, East Conway, Forestbrook, Red Hill, Socastee, Green Sea Floyds, Little River, Longs, and Loris. If you live in one of these areas, please try to attend.
In order to be included in the polling process, you must be at least 21 years of age, must register your name and address upon entering the meeting, and must show proof of residency with a photo identification, or a utility, phone or other type of bill that shows your name and address. You will be asked to complete a form for polling purposes."