Gene Connell

Gene Connell is acting Chairperson after George Oldroyd's unexpected resignation.

The Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire Department Board met  August 26. The meeting started without Chairperson George Oldroyd, who resigned via letter on August 14 with no explanation.

The South Strand News/Georgetown Times spoke with Oldroyd after his resignation, but he would not go into detail regarding his decision or reflect on the previous 15 years.

Gene Connell, Vice Chair of the MIGCFD Board, stated he was not given any notice and that he did not believe anyone had advance knowledge. Connell expressed an appreciation for Oldroyd’s service and the sacrifice of working on a volunteer basis.

Henry McMaster’s office did not respond to an email inquiry regarding Oldroyd’s replacement.

Assistant Fire Chief J.R. Haney said, “The Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire District is grateful for his service to our community, as well as to our staff. We wish Mr. Oldroyd the best in life and offer our heartfelt gratitude for his commitment to the Fire Service as a whole.”

Connell, interim Chairperson, began the meeting by mentioning anonymous letters he had been receiving and stated letters needed to have a recognized author to get attention.

The Board voted to increase the budget for accounting fees from $10,000 to $18,000, jet ski purchase from $7,500 to $11,000 and repairs for Station 3 asphalt and drainage from $15,000 to $20,140.

Kay Benton, Treasurer, pointed out they needed to add signers for the MIGCFD bank account and noted she had sent the information Oldroyd in March but nothing had been done. Pat Walsh and Connell volunteered to be signers on the account. Previously, Oldroyd and Fire Chief Norman Knight were the only signers.

She also noted the “financials” brought up in the June meeting were “tabled with no explanation” and never approved. The Board approved them at that time.

It was noted the department had been operating “short-staffed” all year although they had been meeting minimum requirements. The practice of utilizing part-time staff to fill gaps and recruit was mentioned as a current strategy. They are using money budgeted for unfilled full-time staff positions to pay the part-time staff.

The next meeting of the MIGCFD Board will be September 23