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Form of Government


Division of authority and powers

Sec. 2-21. Legislative powers; matters of policy:

All legislative powers of the city and the determination of all matters of policy are vested in the city council with each member, including the mayor, having one vote. (Code 1980, § 1-2-1)

State law reference: Powers and duties of council, S.C. Code 1976,
1 5-13-30.

Sec. 2-22. Mayor:

A mayor shall be elected from the city at large in the manner provided by law. The mayor shall be recognized as head of the city government for all ceremonial purposes and by the governor for purposes of military law. He shall preside over the meetings of the city council, but shall have no regular administrative duties. (Code 1980, § 1-2-2)

Sec. 2-23. Mayor pro tempore:

Immediately after any general election for the council, the council shall elect one member of their body as a mayor pro tempore to serve as such for two years, who shall act as mayor during the absence or disability of the mayor, and if a vacancy occurs, shall act as mayor until a successor is duly qualified and elected. (Code 1980, § 1-2-3)

State law reference: Similar provisions, S.C. Code 1976, 5-7-190.

Sec. 2-24. Qualifications of mayor and council members; proceedings to vacate offices:

(a) The mayor and council members shall be qualified electors of the city. Except where authorized by law, neither the mayor nor any member of council shall hold any other elected position in local, state or federal government or any other municipal office or municipal employment. The mayor or any council member shall forfeit his office if he:

(1) Lacks at any time during his term of office any qualification for the office prescribed by city ordinance or the general law and constitution of the state;

(2) Violates any express prohibition of S.C. Code 1976, §§ 5-1-10 through 5-17-30;

(3) Is convicted of a crime of moral turpitude.

(b) The council shall be the judge of the election and qualifications of its members and of the grounds for forfeiture of office as provided in S.C. Code 1976, § 5-7-210.

(Code 1980, § 1-2-4)

Sec. 2-25. Compensation:

The council shall determine the annual salary of the mayor and council members by ordinance; provided, that an ordinance establishing or increasing such salaries shall not become effective until the commencement date of the terms of two or more members elected at the next general election following the adoption of the ordinance, at which time it will become effective for all members whether or not they were elected in such election. The mayor and council members shall also be reimbursed for their actual expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties upon submission of signed expense reimbursement forms as provided by the city finance department. (Code 1980, § 1-2-5)

State law reference: Salaries and expenses of mayor and council members determined by council through ordinance, S.C. Code 1976, § 5-7-170.

Sec. 2-26. Oath of mayor and council members:

The mayor and council members before entering upon the duties of their respective offices shall take the following oath:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I am duly qualified, according to the constitution of this state, to exercise the duties of the office to which I have been elected and that I will, to the best of my ability, discharge the duties thereof and preserve, protect and defend the constitution of this state and of the United States.

"As mayor (or council member) of the City of Myrtle Beach, I will equally, fairly and impartially, to the best of my ability and skill, exercise the trust reposed in me, and will use my best endeavor to preserve the peace and carry into effect according to law the purposes for which I have been elected. So help me God."

(Code 1980, § 1-2-6)  State law reference: Similar provisions, S.C. Code 1976, § 5-15-150.

Secs. 2-27-2-40, Reserved.


Sec. 2-41. Date and time:

(a) Regular meetings of council shall be held on the second and fourth Tuesdays in each month unless changed by a majority vote of members present at any regular or special meeting.

(b) Special meetings of council may be held on the call of the mayor or city manager or a majority of the members. Notice of a special meeting shall be given immediately to all available members and the news media by the city manager.

(c) All regular and special meetings of council shall be open to the public.

(Code 1980, § 1-3-1)

Sec. 2-42. Executive sessions:

(a) By majority vote in a public meeting, council may hold an executive session as permitted by the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act.

(b) No vote or formal action shall be taken in executive session.

(c) No minutes shall be taken in executive session.

(d) It shall be unlawful for a member of council or person in attendance to disclose to another person or make public the substance of a matter discussed in executive session.

(Code 1980, § 1-3-2; Ord. No. 98-26, 5-26-98)

Sec. 2-43. Quorum and rules of order:

(a) Quorum. A majority of the council members serving shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of business at any meeting.

(b) Rules of procedure.

(1) Authority. S.C. Code 1976, § 5-7-250 provides that: "The council shall determine its own rules and order of business and shall provide for keeping minutes of its proceedings which shall be a public record."

(2) Purpose. The purpose of city council in adopting rules of order is to enable council to transact business with speed and efficiency while protecting the rights of all persons whether in the majority or the minority. Arbitrary technical rules must not prevent the council from accomplishing the public's business. Therefore, it is the intent of council that common sense and courtesy be applied when enforcing the rules of procedure so that the will of the majority of council may be achieved while insuring that all positions are heard and considered.

(3) Presiding officer. Normally the mayor or, in the mayor's absence, the mayor pro tempore, shall preside at any meeting as provided in section 2-22. Notwithstanding that provision in section 2-22, however, city council may, upon motion passed by a two-thirds majority of all council members serving, elect a council chairperson and vice-chairperson who shall then serve as presiding officer at all future meetings until the next general or special election at which any member of council, including the mayor, is elected and takes office. In the event that the mayor or mayor pro tempore (or chairperson or vice-chairperson) is not in attendance or is ineligible to preside at any meeting, the members present shall elect a member to preside.

(4) Order of business. The standard order of business, which shall be reflected in the meeting agenda, shall be as follows:

a. Call to order.
b. Invocation.
c. Pledge of allegiance.
d. Approval or correction of agenda.

Sec. 2-44. Voting requirements:

(a) All actions of city council shall be by majority vote of members present at a public meeting.

(b) Every member of city council present shall vote on every question except when required to refrain from voting by state law.

(c) The vote on every question shall be by roll call when the vote is not unanimous and shall be recorded in the council minutes by the city clerk.

(Code 1980, § 1-3-4)

Sec. 2-45. Minutes of meetings:

The city clerk shall keep the minutes of all public meetings of council which shall be a matter of permanent public record. At each council meeting the minutes of the previous meeting shall be presented for approval. Minutes shall not be considered the official record of a meeting until approved by council. Any member of council desiring to express a position on a matter voted upon by council in the minutes may do so by presenting the position in writing to council not later than the next regular meeting.

(Code 1980, § 1-3-5)

Sec. 2-46. Appearance of citizens:

Any citizen of the municipality shall be entitled to an appearance before council at any regular meeting concerning any municipal matter with the exception of personnel matters. Persons desiring to speak must notify the city clerk prior to the beginning of the meeting.

(Code 1980, § 1-3-6)

Sec. 2-47. Agenda:

All requests or matters for official action of the city council shall be submitted to the city clerk by Wednesday preceding the regular council meetings. The agenda shall then be prepared and mailed or placed in the hands of the members of the city council. Nothing shall be brought up in meetings of the city council which is not on the official agenda, except by council members or the city manager.

(Code 1980, § 1-3-7)

Sec. 2-48. City attorney to attend:

The city attorney shall attend all meetings of council unless excused by council. He shall act as parliamentarian, prepare ordinances, review all ordinances and documents presented to council and give opinions upon questions of procedure, form and law to any member of council.

(Code 1980, § 1-3-8)

Sec. 2-49. City clerk is ex-officio clerk of council:

The city clerk shall be ex-officio clerk of the city council. The clerk shall give notices of meetings, post the agenda, attend regular and special meetings, record votes of council, keep minutes of council meetings and perform such other duties as may be assigned by the city manager.

(Code 1980, § 1-3-9)

Sec. 2-50. Special committees:

Council may appoint a special committee to assist in or hold a public hearing for council at any time upon any matter pending before it. Minutes or reports of hearings held by special committees shall be filed with the city clerk as public records.

(Code 1980, § 1-3-10)

Sec. 2-51. Removal of committee members:

Council may remove any member appointed to any city committee or commission for misconduct or nonperformance of duty, after written notice and opportunity to be heard. For the purposes of this section, three consecutive unexcused absences, as determined by the respective committee or commission, shall be deemed nonperformance.

(Code 1980, § 1-3-11)

Secs. 2-52-2-60. Reserved:


Sec. 2-61. Ordinances required:

Council shall act by ordinance in all matters required by state law to be accomplished by ordinance.

(Code 1980, § 1-3-21)  State law reference: Actions requiring an ordinance, S.C. Code 1976, § 5-7-260.

Sec. 2-62. Codification of ordinances:

All ordinances relating to administration, health, safety, vehicles, streets (except franchises and encroachments), traffic, railroads, crimes and offenses, utilities, solicitations, pollution, municipal court, descriptions of areas annexed to the city, and any other ordinances or portions of ordinances so required by council shall be codified and updated regularly in a loose-leaf Code of Ordinances. Standard codes, technical regulations and zoning ordinances may be cited in the Code by reference and copies thereof shall be made available by city clerk for distribution or for purchase at a reasonable price. (Code 1980, § 1-3-22)

State law reference: Codification of municipal ordinances, S.C. Code 1976, § 5-7-290.

See. 2-63. Notice required:

Prior to the introduction of an ordinance granting a franchise, license or right for the use of any street or for the permanent closing of any abandoned street, the applicant for the ordinance shall publish a notice in three issues of a newspaper having general circulation in the city stating the nature of the franchise, license or right sought or a description of the street sought to be closed, and the date on which the application is to be presented to council, which shall be at least one week after the last notice. This requirement shall not apply to the temporary closing of a public street initiated by council.

(Code 1980, § 1-3-23)

Sec. 2-64. Form:

(a) Every proposed ordinance shall be introduced in writing and in the form required for final adoption, which shall include:

(1) A title briefly describing the content;

(2) Findings, reasons or basis for the ordinance, if desired;

(3) An enacting clause;

(4) Citation of any ordinance repealed;

(5) The provisions of the ordinance, including section numbers if the ordinance is to be codified or amends an existing codified ordinance;

(6) The effective date of the ordinance, to be effective when adopted unless otherwise stated;

(7) Space for the signatures of the mayor and the city clerk attesting date ordinance was introduced and date of final reading.

(b) Written resolutions shall be in similar form as deemed appropriate by the city attorney or city manager.

(Code 1980, § 1-3-24)

Sec. 2-65. Introduction of ordinances:

An ordinance may be proposed by any member of council or the city manager. A proposed ordinance shall be referred to the city attorney or city manager for approval as to form. The city attorney may render assistance in the preparation of notices and ordinances. After an ordinance is in proper form, and any notice required by this Code of Ordinances or by state or federal law has been given, the ordinance shall be held by the city clerk for public inspection. An ordinance shall be deemed to be introduced when it appears on the council agenda and is read by title. Unless otherwise specifically required, notice shall consist of the posting of the council agenda in City Hall not less than 24 hours prior to the meeting at which it is to be read. (Code 1980, § 1-3-25)

Sec. 2-66. Enactment of ordinances:

(a) An ordinance to levy a tax, adopt a budget, appropriate funds, grant a franchise, license or right to use or occupy a public street for commercial purposes shall be complete in the form in which it is finally passed, and in that form remain on file at least one week before final adoption.

(b) No ordinance shall be adopted until it shall have been read two times and on two separate days with at least six days between readings.

(c) Emergency ordinances may be adopted on one reading without notice or hearing by affirmative vote of two-thirds of members present. An emergency ordinance may not levy taxes, relate to a franchise or a service rate and shall expire automatically on the 61st day following enactment.

(d) The introduction and reading of any ordinance shall be by the reading of the title only unless full reading is requested by a member of council.

(e) After the introduction of an ordinance, any member of council may request a public hearing which shall be held at a time determined by council prior to final adoption. Notice of the public hearing shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the city not less than three days before the hearing. Once a public hearing has been conducted, no further public hearing on the same ordinance shall be held unless approved by a majority of the council members present.

(f) Upon final adoption by vote of council, an ordinance shall be signed by the mayor and attested by the city clerk, who shall file the original in the council minutes.

(Code 1980, § 1-3-26)

Sec. 2-67. Introduction of resolutions:

A voice motion of a member of council shall be considered the introduction of an oral resolution which shall require no written record other than that it shall be recorded by the city clerk in the council minutes. A resolution proposed in writing shall be introduced in the same manner as an ordinance. (Code 1980, § 1-3-27)

Sec. 2-68. Adoption of resolutions:

Written or oral resolutions may be adopted on one reading unless a public hearing is set by a majority of the members of council present. (Code 1980, § 1-3-28)

Secs. 2-69-2-80. Reserved:


Sec. 2-81. Employment:

(a) General policies; administrative and operation handbook presented for council review. Under the council-manager form of government, the city manager administrates the policies set forth by the legislative body. South Carolina Code § 5-14-40 prohibits the legislative body dealing with employees or interfering with the operation of municipal departments, offices or agencies under the manager's direction. In section 2-107, the legislative body recognizes the full power of the manager to appoint and remove any officer or employee within his discretion. For the purpose of establishing general operational and administrative policies, procedures and regulations regarding employment, the manager may, from time to time within his discretion, promulgate a handbook for employees and may present the handbook for council's review. If promulgated, the handbook shall reflect the overall legislative policies set forth herein. Because the administrative and operational control of the employment force is solely within the authority of the manager under our form of government, the handbook shall not be adopted by ordinance or resolution, but may be reviewed by the legislative body upon presentment by the manager.

(b) Policy of "at will" employment; contracts must be in writing endorsed by the manager. The city has a policy that all employment status is "at will", with the exception of judges under the unified court system. "At will" employment recognizes the right of the employee to resign at any time without providing a reason or explanation to the organization. "At-will" employment also recognizes the right of the city to terminate employment at any time without providing a reason or explanation to the employee. At will employment is terminable by either party at any time, for any reason or for no reason at all. Nothing in the manager's personnel handbook can change the at-will status of employment as set forth herein, or create an expectation of a contract or continued employment on the part of any employee. No one other than the city manager may make any promise or assurance or enter into any contract, whether oral or written, express or implied, that is any way inconsistent with the policy set forth herein. Any promise, assurance or purported contract or agreement shall be invalid and not binding upon the city unless adopted, endorsed or agreed to in writing by the city manager.

(c) Policy to remain in force. The city manager may make such rules, regulations and changes to the handbook as are necessary for the effective administration of the human resource system. Employment, promotions, demotions, discipline and training are solely within the scope of the manager's responsibilities. The city manager may also make exceptions to or waive the procedures included in the handbook as needed to achieve organizational goals, excepting, however, that the general legislative policies expressed herein shall in no way be impacted.

(Code 1980, § 1-6-1; Ord. No. 2004-7, 1-27-04)

Sec. 2-82. Bonds may be required of officers and employees:

The city council may require suitable bonds of the city manager and other municipal employees conditioned for the faithful performances of their duties. The cost of such bonds shall be paid by the city.

(Code 1980, § 1-4-21; Ord. No. 91-36, § 4, 9-10-91)  State law reference: Surety bonds of municipal employees, S.C. Code 1976, § 5-13-60.

Secs. 2-83-2-100. Reserved:


Sec. 2-101. Office created:

The office of city manager is hereby created. (Code 1980, § 1-4,1)

Sec. 2-102. Appointment; qualification; residency requirements; eligibility of council members:

The city manager shall be appointed by a majority vote of the council for an indefinite term. The manager shall be employed solely on the basis of his executive and administrative qualifications. The manager need not be a resident of the municipality or state at the time of appointment, but may reside outside the municipality while in office only with the approval of the council. No council member or mayor shall be employed as city manager during the term for which he or she shall have been elected or within one year after the expiration of that term. (Code 1980, § 1-4-2; Ord. No. 91-36, § 1, 9-10-91)

State law reference: Employment and qualifications of manager, S.C. Code 1976, § 5-13-50.

Sec. 2-103. Compensation:

The city manager shall receive such compensation as the city council shall fix from time to time by ordinance or resolution.

(Code 1980, § 1-4-3)

Sec. 2-104. Bond:

The city manager shall furnish a surety bond in a sum to be approved by the city council. This bond shall be conditioned on the faithful performance of his duties. The premium of the bond shall be paid by the city. (Code 1980, § 1-4-4)

State law reference: Surety bond of manager, S.C. Code 1976, § 5-13-60.

Sec. 2-105. Powers and duties; generally:

(a) The city manager shall be the chief executive officer of the city and head of the administrative branch of city government. The city manager shall perform and exercise the duties and responsibilities specifically prescribed in S.C. Code 19 76, Tit. 5, ch. 13, and as may otherwise be prescribed by federal or state law or the city council.

(b) The city manager may, within the financial limits imposed by the budget approved by city council, employ one or more assistants to exercise such supervisory responsibilities over departments as may be prescribed by the manager.

(c) In case of accidents or other circumstances creating an emergency, the city manager may, with the consent of the city council, award contracts and make purchases for the purpose of repairing damages caused by the accident or meeting the public emergency; but he shall file promptly with the city council a certificate showing the emergency and the necessity for the action, together with an itemized account of all expenditures.

(Code 1980, §§ 1-4-5, l6; Ord. No. 91-36, § 2, 9-10-91)  State law reference: Responsibilities of manager, S.C. Code 1976, § 5-13-90.

Sec. 2-106. Removal from office:

(a) The city manager may be removed by a majority vote of the council. If the council determines to remove the manager, it must give the manager a written statement of the reasons alleged for the proposed removal and the right to a hearing thereon at a public meeting of the council.

(b) Within five days after the notice of removal is delivered to the manager, he may file with the council a written request for a public hearing. This hearing shall be held at a council meeting not earlier than 20 days nor later than 30 days after the request is filed. The manager may file with the council a written reply not later than five days before the hearing. The removal shall be stayed pending the decision of the public hearing.

(Code 1980, § 1-4-7)  State law reference: Removal of manager by council, S.C. Code 1976, § 5-13-70.

Sec. 2-107. Manager to appoint and remove officers and employees; council members to refrain from influencing appointment or removal of administrative employees; manner of dealing with officers and employees:

The city manager has full power to appoint and, when necessary, remove any appointive officer or employee with the exception of the municipal judge and the city attorney. Neither the council nor its individual members shall direct or request the appointment of any person to or his removal from office by the city manager, or by any of the manager's subordinates, or in any manner attempt to dictate the appointment or removal of officers or employees of the city other than the municipal judge or city attorney. Except for the purpose of inquiry, neither the council nor its members shall deal with city officers and employees who are subject to the direction and supervision of the manager except through the manager, and neither the council nor its members shall give orders to any such officer or employee, either publicly or privately. (Code 1980, § 1-4-8; Ord. No. 91-36, § 3, 9-10-91)

State law reference-Similar provisions, S.C. Code 1976, § 5-13-40.

Secs. 2-108-2-120. Reserved:


Sec. 2-121. Office created:

The city manager shall appoint a city clerk whose duties shall be as described in Title 5, Chapter 7, S.C. Code 1976.

Secs. 2-122-2-130. Reserved:


Sec. 2-131. Office created; duties; compensation:

(a) The city council may appoint a city attorney who shall serve at its pleasure.

(b) The city attorney shall be the chief legal counsel to the city, the mayor and members of council, the city manager, and other officers and department heads of the city. The city attorney shall be the prosecuting attorney in municipal court and shall represent the city and its officers in any other legal actions or proceedings as may be appropriate. The city attorney shall prepare or supervise the preparation of all legal documents and instruments of the city and shall approve all ordinances, resolutions, contracts and related documents as to form. The city attorney may, with the concurrence of city council, employ assistant city attorneys and legal assistants as necessary for the performance of his or her duties and may retain outside counsel when, in his or her professional judgment, such professional services are required. The city attorney shall attend meetings of the city council, render legal opinions, represent the city at meetings and conferences and perform such other duties as prescribed by law or the city council.

(c) The salary and terms of employment of the city attorney shall be determined by the city council. (Code 1980, § 1-4-22; Ord. No. 91-36, § 4, 9-10-91)

Secs. 2-132-2-150. Reserved.


Sec. 2-151. Establishment:

(a) The following departments are hereby established:

(1) Police;

(2) Fire;

(3) Finance;

(4) Construction services;

(5) Convention center;

(6) Parks and recreation;

(7) Planning;

(8) Engineering and public services;

(9) Library;

(10) Public Information;

(11) Personnel;

(12) Legal.

(b) The head of each department shall be a director, who shall be an officer of the city appointed by the city manager, and who shall have supervision and control of his or her department subject to the rules, regulations and policies established by the city manager or by resolution of the city council. The city manager may serve as director of one or more departments or divisions as he or she may decide.

(c) The city manager shall have complete authority to appoint and remove all department heads as he or she may determine is necessary for the proper and efficient administration of the city.

(Code 1980, § 1-4-31; Ord. No. 91-36, § 5, 9-10-91)  State law reference: Council authorized to create, change or abolish departments, S.C. Code 1976, § 5-13-100.