Despite published evidence to the contrary, Aiken City Manager Richard Pearce is standing firm on his version of events when it comes to an explanation for delays in debris cleanup following Winter Storm Pax.

Pearce released an official statement on the topic on Monday, following an extensive review of the disaster-recovery effort published in the Sunday edition of the Aiken Standard.

“It is unfortunate that SCDOT officials misinterpreted our commitment to continue to serve (city residents) after this history-making storm struck,” Pearce writes. “Once we were aware of their misunderstanding, we tried to assure them that they were welcome to join us ... to also help collect debris.”

The full text of Pearce's statement appears on the Opinions Page of today's edition.

Despite Pearce's repeated denials, SCDOT officials, disaster-recovery contractors engaged by the state, Aiken City Council members and others insist Pearce repeatedly made it clear that he did not want outside workers operating with the City limits. They said that was his position from the beginning of the operation in February until he was forced to reverse himself nearly a month later after April 1.

A call to Aiken Mayor Fred Cavanaugh seeking comment on the Pearce statement Monday was not immediately returned Monday afternoon.

At a City Council meeting later Monday evening, Cavanaugh said he had not had time to review the information and would be available for comment today.