The mayor of New Ellenton stepped down from his position Tuesday due to a conflict of interests.Tommy Brock, who was elected as mayor in late March, had to resign after he was reassigned to law enforcement at Wackenhut where he has been employed for 27 years. The position is commissioned as well as the position of mayor. According to state law, an individual cannot hold two commissioned positions, and the S.C. Attorney General's Office advised him to either step down as mayor or turn down the job offer. Brock said the decision was difficult, and he was nervous about the announcement. He said had spent a lot of time on his campaign, received a lot of support and he doesn't want residents of New Ellenton to feel disappointed."It's always been a passion to serve my town," he said. "I don't invest my time into something just to walk away from it."Brock said that after "careful consideration" he decided to accept the law enforcement position. He said he hopes the residents of New Ellenton understand that the position of mayor is on a "volunteer basis" and that his position at Wackenhut is his livelihood.Brock said that the town council is a strong group and has confidence that they will serve New Ellenton well without him."I've got all the support of the council - I'm leaving the town in good hands," he said.Brock said that his favorite part about being mayor was working with the people, and he vows to continue serving his community through volunteering. "I'm going to stay busy, I can promise you that," said Brock. "I'm too afraid to sit down because I don't want the world to pass me by."The council members themselves are saddened by the news but say they are still going to serve the town efficiently."I'd hate to see him leave, but I can understand his reasoning," said Councilman Anthony Shaw. "We are going to continue to strive and push forward even though the mayor is stepping down. We have a strong group on council."Councilman Rick Crosby said that the decision to step down was hard for Brock and that it was "tearing him up inside." Crosby added that Brock accomplished a lot in his short time as mayor by making headway in the sewer project and working closely with the town's police department. He said that new body armor was purchased and a few new police officers were hired."I hope and pray we find someone who is as positive as him and will work well with the council," Crosby said.Councilman Daniel Braswell is the mayor pro tem and will be covering the position until a new mayor is elected in November. Braswell said he has appreciated what Brock has done for the city and that the council plans to build on that. As for taking Brock's place temporarily, Braswell said he will just be doing his regular job in a different position."I just look at it as serving the city - I'm just doing it in a little bit of a different role," he said.Brock said that whoever decides to run for mayor in November must be willing to work hard because New Ellenton is a busy town. He said patience and understanding is also a requirement of the position."Be willing to serve the people, not yourself," he said. "Being the mayor is about serving the community."Contact Amy Banton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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