Charleston City Hall | File photo

A slew of pending amendments is the latest reason a vote to formally create a new city commission that would seek to pursue equity, diversity and inclusion in Charleston. A series of proposed changes prompted members to put off the vote set for Tuesday night’s meeting.

Council members voted 7-5 to defer the final vote on forming the Human Affairs and Racial Conciliation Commission after it passed its second reading Jan. 11 after months of debate by city leaders and public comments from concerned citizens. Tuesday night’s debate centered around amendments to the proposed commission by West Ashley Councilman Peter Shahid. Shahid’s changes included how members would be appointed and limiting the group’s scope.

While some council members wanted to approve the commission first and discuss amendments individually afterward, others thought a deferral was the best option. More than two dozen Charleston residents attended the meeting as well, most of whom spoke in favor of the commission. 

Votes in favor of the deferral came from council members Shahid, Jason Sakran, Kevin Shealy, Karl Brady Jr., Mike Seekings, Caroline Parker and Ross Appel. Votes against the deferral came from Mayor John Tecklenburg and Councilmen Gregorie, Robert Mitchell, Stephen Bowden and Keith Waring.

Sakran and Gregorie have co-chaired the city’s current Special Commission on Equity, Inclusion, and Racial Conciliation, created after the a 2018 resolution formally apologizing for the city’s role in promoting chattel slavery.