Charleston City Council opted against making the city’s Special Commission on Equity, Inclusion and Racial Conciliation a permanent fixture in the city at Tuesday night’s meeting after protracted debate over amendment proceedings.
“Do we want a mechanism, a body, that considers in our future a more equitable, a more inclusive city and policies that would lead us to a more equitable place?” Mayor John Tecklenburg asked the council prior to the vote. “That’s why we would form this commission, to continue the work of considering things that would make Charleston a more equitable and just place.”
Tecklenburg expressed concern regarding the wording of the ordinance making it seem as though the recommendations of the special commission had been accepted or approved, which would trigger “No” votes from some council members. But a suggested amendment that would strike a number of phrases from the ordinance to clear that up failed, allowing council members to vote on the ordinance as previously amended.
The measure ultimately failed 6-7, with votes in favor coming from Councilmembers Dudley Gregorie, Carol Jackson, Robert Mitchell, Jason Sakran, Keith Waring and Tecklenburg. Councilmembers Marie Delcioppo, Kevin Shealy, Karl Brady, Mike Seekings, Peter Shahid, Harry Griffin and Ross Appel voted against the measure.
Public comments regarding the motion were divided, with many residents offering support for a permanent commission, and others claiming it would not be a good fit for the city.