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      Mt. Pleasant mayor seeks more power from council

      MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV)-- Mount Pleasant Mayor Billy Swails is expected to ask town council to increase the powers of the Mayor's Office in a committee meeting Monday. {}{} {}Swails will seek approval of a referendum that would change the government structure of Mount Pleasant from a weak-mayor-strong-council form of government to a strong-mayor-weak-council form. In a weak-mayor-council system, mayoral powers are "weak" because the mayor has no real executive power and there's restrictions on how he can appoint and remove officials. The mayor also has no power to veto.In the strong-mayor form of government, Swails would be considered the executive branch of Mount Pleasant with the council as the legislative branch. The mayor would be elected by voters and is given administrative authority. He is also more independent politically, able to appoint and dismiss department heads without council approval and little to no public input. The mayor would also be responsible for the city budget with approval from the council.Charleston and North Charleston currently have a strong-mayor form of government in place as do most larger cities. The weak-mayor form of government is common in smaller municipalities.Right now, Swails is in his third year of a four year term as a part time mayor. He also runs a State Farm insurance agency.

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