Four Florence City Council members sworn in
FLORENCE, S.C. – Four familiar faces were sworn in Thursday to the Florence City Council.
Mayor Pro Tempore Frank J. “Buddy” Brand II and council members Teresa Myers Ervin, Pat Gibson-Hye Moore and George Jebaily won their bids for re-election to the city council during the Nov. 6 general election.
“The relationship I have with Stephen [Wukela, Florence’s mayor] has turned into not only a relationship of mayor-councilman but a friendship,” Brand said. “That is what it’s all about. The town of Florence overall has become that. If we can get along, if the federal government—and the state government, too— would follow what we’re trying to do here, we’d have a whole different world.”
Brand, the only Republican on the council, was unchallenged in either the general or the primary election in his bid for the District 3 seat. Brand received 98.59 percent of the vote. Wukela administered Brand’s oath of office. Brand was assisted by his grandson, Liam.
“When I think of this council that I am serving with now, I am thankful,” Myers Ervin said. “It’s truly a great opportunity because I believe that we are seven people from seven different aspects of life; that we really strive to do what we believe that is best for this city. I always said we don’t get 100 percent of what we want but when we’re finished with the product, I believe that it is usually the best product for this city.”
Myers Ervin has served District 1 since she was elected in 2010. She was unchallenged in her 2018 re-election bid. She received 3,303 votes out of 3,362 votes cast, for a percentage of 98.5 percent. Myers Ervin was sworn in by Judge Linward Edwards. Edwards is a judge for the city. She was assisted by her husband, Lavon Ervin.
“I just want everybody to know that this council – and myself— will work hard for you,” Gibson-Hye Moore said. “I thank you all. If you ever need me for any reason, feel free to call. If I can help you I will. If I can’t help you, I try and get you to someone who can.”
Gibson-Hye Moore has served District 2 since she was elected in a 2016 special election. She defeated LaShonda NeSmith-Jackson in primary run-offs in both 2016 and 2018. In the 2018 general election, Gibson-Hye Moore was unchallenged and received 98.61 percent of the vote. Judge Mia Weaver administered Gibson-Hye Moore’s oath of office. Gibson-Hye Moore was assisted by her husband, Kermit Moore, and one of her mentees, Teon Murray.
“I think the last few months that we have learned the strength [of Florence],” Jebaily said. “You know the strength of a chain is only determined when it’s put under pressure. And our community has been put under tremendous pressure these last few months. And we have learned collectively the strength of our community by what we have done, how we have come together, how we have supported each other, how we have encouraged each other, and I think how we have risen up to be something even greater.”
Jebaily was unchallenged in either the general or the primary election. He received 98.36 percent of the vote. He was elected to the Florence City Council in 2014 over current Councilman Glynn Willis. Jebaily was administered his oath of office by his oldest brother, Ronnie, and assisted by his wife, Debbie, and their daughter, Kayla.
Willis was elected to another at-large seat in 2016 along with council member Octavia Williams-Blake. Williams-Blake has served on the council since 2008.
The city’s code provides for alternating election cycles. In 2010, 2014, and 2018, the seats from the three districts and one at-large seat were up for election. In 2012, 2016, and 2020, the other three at-large seats, including the mayor, are up for election.
Three of seven members of the Florence City Council are elected to represent districts of a geographic area of the city. The districts are sort of shaped like an addition symbol (+). District 1 generally includes the area in the upper left side of the symbol. District 2 generally includes the right side of the symbol and District 3 generally includes the lower left side of the symbol.
The other four members, including the mayor, of the Florence City Council are elected at-large, meaning that the member can be from any district within the city.