By RON BAXLEY JR. T&D Correspondent
NORTH – A member of North Town Council who apparently has resigned claims the town's mayor acted illegally when she announced the effective date of his resignation at Monday night's council meeting.
Jeff Washington, who did not attend Monday's meeting, said he did not include an effective date in the letter of resignation he submitted to Mayor Patty Carson on Nov. 1.
Washington did not return repeated telephone calls Tuesday and Wednesday from The Times and Democrat seeking comment about his resignation.
However, he called The T&D reporter early Thursday morning to respond after the story about his resignation broke in that day's edition of the newspaper. He denied that he had resigned.
“This is what happened. I thought Golden State Food (his employer) sold out. I thought they were going to close their facility in Lexington. I thought I was going to have to move because of that job,” Washington said.
“I told Patty (Carson) that I might have to relocate. I told her I am going to resign if I have to move. I did not put a date (of resignation) on the letter," he said. "She (Carson) went and put a date on it."
Washington added, “She told me she put the date on it. It’s illegal what she did.”
When contacted about Washington's complaint, Carson said, “I manually date-stamped the letter upon receipt. I have two witnesses who were here when I opened it and when it was received.”
The mayor provided a computer scan of Washington’s letter to The T&D. The letter states, “I have resign(ed) from North Town Council due to the new company at my job.”
Carson had written on Washington's resignation letter that she received it on Nov. 1, then initialed it.
In an email to The T&D later, Carson said she remembered that Washington had also dropped off his keys to North Town Hall in the same envelope with his resignation letter.
"That appears to me to be pretty definitive," she said.
Washington told The T&D he planned to talk to the Election Commission about the matter.
Asked about his concerns, Orangeburg County Voter Registration & Elections Director Aurora Smalls said, “We usually leave that in the hands of the town. Our job is just to conduct the election. If he (Washington) has any issues, he would have to address it with the town.”
Washington said he will file as a candidate for mayor of North in the 2019 municipal election.