Sandifer Sworn-in on City Council

In a solemn and brief ceremony at the beginning of Bamberg City Council’s March 12, meeting, Kevin Sandifer of Bamberg was sworn-in as Bamberg City Council’s newest member to represent District One for the remainder of the unexpired term of former Council member Linda Hayes Hudson, who resigned the seat. City of Bamberg Clerk/Treasurer Bruce Watson, who administered the oath of office to Sandifer reported that the official results of the election showed that Sandifer received 39 votes to 29 votes for Betty Mack and 8 votes for Sonya Strock.

Also during the meeting, Mollie Brandemuehl, who is the Co Chair of the Bamberg County Relay for Life addressed Council members concerning the use of the old railroad berm for this year’s Relay for Life. Brandemuehl noted that organization had not looked at logistics yet, but were considering asking the city to close down a portion of Highway 78 between the First Baptist Church and Trinity United Methodist Church for the May 18th event that she noted typically lasted about 12 hours.

Bamberg Chief of Police George Morris commented that to close down a portion of Highway 78, which was noted is an evacuation route would require that the city receive clearance through the South Carolina Highway Commission. The Chief stated that the organization could get away with working from Highway 78 on back and not closing the highway. Chief Morris also noted that if the event ran past 10:00 p.m. he could foresee some residents in the area complaining about loud noise. Clerk Watson noted Chief Morris and Mayor McCollum would have to sign off on any event.

Council members agreed to allow the Relay for Life Program to have the event on the railroad berm with the other logistics to be worked out in time for the event.

Also during the meeting Chief Morris introduced new SRO Loretta Simpson. The Chief stated that Officer Simpson would be attending the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy on April 2, and hopefully will graduate on June 22. In an update on a proposed ordinance to ban burning in the city limits Fire Commissioner Buck Fralick reported that his committee had an ordinance in place, but needed to have one more meeting.

Council members approved a request coming from Assistant Police Chief Doug Kirby to allow the department to sponsor various fundraisers in hope of acquiring a drug dog for the department in the future. “We want to get some involvement in the community,” Officer Kirby said, noting that the police department was “here for more than locking people up.”

Further during the meeting, Council members approved having the annual 4th of July Celebration again this year with the understanding that the city’s police department would not be restricted from working the event by restrictions on overtime in the wake of the incident at last year’s celebration. “Whatever council decides, we’ll do our job, don’t limit my law enforcement officers,” Chief Morris said, noting that he will not receive any assistance from the state and the county won’t pay Sheriff Deputies overtime.

“I think we should go forth and we will provide you with the resources you need,” Police Commissioner Bo Griffin said.