At the center of the storm? Incumbent mayor John Tecklenburg, who is seeking a second four-year term this fall against a slate of five candidates (including two sitting council members).
Tecklenburg has been accused of a variety of ethical lapses over the course of his reelection bid, although none of them seem to have generated the sort of sustained outrage necessary to topple him. In fact, editorials in The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier have implied the mayor’s critics are wasting everyone’s time.
According to the paper, the allegations leveled against Tecklenburg have been “thin and plainly politically motivated” while the audit into them was “thoroughly unexceptional.” The whole thing was “a costly and time-consuming inquisition,” the paper concluded.
Columnist Brian Hicks echoed these conclusions in a recent piece.
“The real problem at City Hall is some council members don’t get along with the mayor,” Hicks wrote, adding that Tecklenburg’s critics were going to “keep digging until they (got) the results they want.”
Hicks specifically urged those council members to “holster their weapons -before they end up shooting themselves, or the mayor’s November opponents, in the foot.”
Talk about going “all in” for the incumbent …
(Click to view)
(Via: Tecklenburg for Mayor)
To be clear: Unlike the Post and Courier, news outlet does not have a dog in this fight. We believe Tecklenburg has behaved unethically in the past – and we think he is out of his depth in this office – but we do not know enough about any of his opponents to say whether they are (or would do) any better.
Having said that, we remain troubled by taxpayer-funded payments to Roy Willey IV – one of Tecklenburg’s top campaign aides and a donor/ fundraiser on his 2019 reelection bid.
If Willey’s name sounds familiar, it should. His wife, Kelsey O. Willey, was unsuccessfully nominated for a judgeship by Tecklenburg – news which broke in wide circulation on our outlet back in March.
We were also first to report on the payments made by Charleston city government to Willey – which totaled $84,000 over a period of seventeen months. City councilman Keith Waring has recently challenged these expenditures, and wants his fellow council members to ask the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to investigate the nature of the relationship between the mayor and the Willeys.
As of this writing, SLED has not received a request for an investigation into Tecklenburg.
Our view? We do not know if a SLED investigation is warranted in this case, although we do believe there is sufficient smoke surrounding the relationship between Tecklenburg and the Willeys to warrant a preliminary inquiry.
We get that politics is all about quid pro quos, but there are lines you don’t cross … and we think it is worth finding out whether Tecklenburg and the Willeys crossed them.
What do you think? Vote in our poll and post your thoughts in our always-lively comments section below …
Should Charleston mayor John Tecklenburg be investigated?
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