Town of Surfside Beach shake-up causing concerns for summer readiness

Surfside Pier (WPDE)

Surfside Beach Town Council is negotiating with an interim town administrator after a special meeting Monday night.

Surfside Beach Mayor Bob Childs, said that candidate's name is Jim Duckett. Duckett is a former Surfside Beach town administrator.

Council members instructed Chief Kenneth Hofmann, the acting town administrator, to negotiate with Duckett and get his feelings on the job

According to Duckett's bio in a 2011 edition of Inside Surfside, Town Council unanimously approved his hiring as the town administrator in November of 2011. The publication says it was, "After an exhaustive search and paring down process from what initially included 160 applications".

Childs says the negotiations mean nothing official, but the council narrowed applications down to Duckett's.

The decision to negotiate comes after two employees were fired last month at a heated council meeting.

So, with all the drama, some are wondering if the oceanfront town will be ready for tourists this season.

The town has 129 days until summer to figure it out. Some say the town will be ready, but others are worried. With the town missing an administrator, the process to move forward with rebuilding the pier has slowed, and the pier draws many tourists to the area.

"The one thing that really kind of bothers me a little bit is that there's too much bickering and going on with the town council," said Pam Stapleton, an employee at Allbright Cleaners.

She's not the only one bothered. Just a couple of weeks ago, several complained during another town council meeting, hoping when the bickering stops productivity doesn't.

"I just don't know if they're really, really ready. I wish they would be," said Stapleton. She says she wishes the pier could be rebuilt soon, but now it's up to the people to make Surfside Beach a place where tourists want to visit.

"I would never put the town down. I love it. I'm not going anywhere, but I just think they need to concentrate more on matters that are going to help the citizens and the tourists," she said.

Speaking of tourists, the sidewalk that connects Garden City Beach to Surfside Beach is what could be paving the way for more of them.

Susan Statkowski-Rivalsi usually stays in Garden City two months out of the year, but says she would walk to Surfside Beach because of the sidewalk.

"Yeah! I mean I walked when it was just pre-prepared to Melody where it connects to Surfside, and I said this is great! And I've also seen where it's going to connect on the other end as well," said Statkowski-Rivalsi.

Though there are a few kinks to work out, "I feel like Surfside is a good area, a big family place, we've still got some main things to come out and see, so it's definitely ok," said Ty Sessions, a server at Bubba's Fish Shack.

The upgraded pier the town wants to build is expected to cost $9 million dollars. They're still waiting to hear back from FEMA for government funding.

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