Phase 2 Compensation Plan

The other night at our Westwood Neighborhood public safety meeting, someone asked what the city is doing to support our police officers. Then Facebook showed me this memory for #ThrowbackThursday. I’m excited that in this year’s budget we approved Phase 2! Phase 2 will be getting all employees step increases to compensate for tenure in the new classification. The phased approach to appropriately compensating our first responders and all city employees was fiscally responsible. And I’m #SimplyProud of our staff and Council for making it happen!

For more details, here’s the link to the original post on the #Jenn4Ward3 blog:

Turn Lanes on Curtis

How many times have you found yourself stuck in a line of cars behind someone turning left onto Main from Curtis St. and thought, “Why can’t we have a left turn lane and signal at this intersection?!?” If you’re like many people, it’s happened quite a lot.  Everyone who travels through downtown knows what a traffic jam is created by people turning left.  And people in the surrounding neighborhoods know (and have complained) about how often people cut through to avoid that intersection and the jam.

At tonight’s Committee of the Whole Meeting, Council voted in favor of a proposal that would provide a solution: left turn lanes and signals at the Curtis/Main intersection. The proposal does eliminate some on street parking (4 spaces on one side of Curtis and 8 on the other) to provide the space required to create the turn lanes.

The city is working together with SCDOT and the County Transportation Committee to secure funding for the project.  We originally talked about this proposal at the June Committee of the Whole Meeting and since that time the City Administrator has met with representatives from DOT and the County and has solicited input and feedback from local small business owners downtown.

The loss of on street parking is a concern to some business owners and to Council.  However, I feel like the loss of parking is outweighed by the benefit of better traffic flow through town.  The rest of Council seems to be in agreement.

Also, it is notable that we have public parking at City Hall that is underutilized for the businesses on the east side of Curtis.  And the City Administrator is currently in discussions with the Verdons about purchasing property for additional downtown public parking (remember that Verdin Veterinary has moved and been renamed).

This proposal for turn lanes and signals at the Curtis St. intersection will now come before Council for a final vote at the next Business Meeting.  If you have questions or concerns, reach out to our City Administrator or anyone on Council.


Updates from 6.26.18 Meeting

Here are some updates from the 6.26.18 Committee of the Whole meeting that you might find interesting:


Continuing to work on sewer and other infrastructure improvements on SE Main in support of the new restroom building and alleyway improvements to be constructed. I am excited that we are making progress on this project because the restrooms downtown will make spending time there much more appealing—and that’s good foe everyone!

Crosswalks downtown have been painted for improved pedestrian safety.  We have more people than ever downtown these days, so it’s important that we keep our very walkable downtown as safe as possible for our residents and visitors.


Director Robbie Davis is working with Greenville County Redevelopment Authority on improvements to the Senior Center utilizing CDBG funding.  This funding is provided to the city for improvements to low-to-moderate income areas of the city. We received updates on this funding an recommendations for its use earlier this year.  This is a great way to use this money.


Justin Campbell has accepted the position of Community Relations Specialist with the City of Simpsonville. Justin is a graduate of Clemson University with a degree in Journalism. He has experience writing for The Tiger and, most recently, The Seneca Journal. Justin has strong communication skills coupled with excellent writing skills. He will be a tremendous asset in disseminating City information to media outlets, pushing content through social media, and working with all City departments on graphic presentations and grant writing. We welcome Justin to Team Simpsonville and look forward to working with him!

Excellence in Financial Reporting

The City of Simpsonville is proud to announce it has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association. The Association awarded the honor to Simpsonville for the City’s comprehensive annual financial report for fiscal year 2016-2017.

The Certificate of Achievement is the “highest form of recognition” in government financial reporting and a “significant accomplishment” by a government and its management, according to an Association news release.

City Administrator Dianna Gracely said the City of Simpsonville is honored by the recognition of the City’s excellent financial governance.

“We at City Hall strive to be good stewards of the public trust with best practices and transparency,” Ms. Gracely said. “The Certificate of Achievement is the result of our commitment to responsibly manage the City’s finances to ensure a bright future for Simpsonville.”

Government Finance Officers Association serves almost 19,000 local, state and provincial-level government officials and finance practitioners, according to the news release. An impartial panel judged the City’s comprehensive annual financial report to meet the “high standards” of the program, including a “spirit of full disclosure,” according to the news release.

Mayor Janice Curtis said the financial report is a way for the City to be transparent with the citizens of Simpsonville, whose tax dollars Mayor Curtis said the City is “entrusted to use wisely.” Curtis said the report is an example of that transparency.

These are a few exciting things (Meeting Recap)

Despite having a packed agenda, we had an efficient and productive Business Meeting tonight. With the time change, that means we left while it was still daylight!

Here are some other things I’m excited about from tonight’s meeting:

  1. Waterleaf at Neely Ferry.  Council unanimously approved this Concept Plan.  I previously told you why this plan is exciting and good for Simpsonville: road improvements, green space, sidewalks and connectivity, authentic collaboration between Graycliffe Capital and the City of Simpsonville, and smart growth!
  2. South Street Innovative Development Concept Plan.  At the Committee of the Whole Meeting on February 27th, Council voted to move this to the Business Meeting.  Despite voting yes, I had some lingering concerns about sidewalks (or lack thereof) and connectivity.  I took those concerns to our Planning and Economic Development Director, Jason Knudsen: there are no sidewalks on Corporate Drive or N. Industrial Dr. Mr. Knudsen knows how I feel about sidewalks and connectivity.  And he suggested we ask Gray Engineering, the firm who submitted the Statement of Intent, if they’d work with us to improve the walkability of the area.  End result? We’re getting 2 additions to the plan: a) the addition of a sidewalk extending up Corporate Dr. connecting to South Street; and b) the addition of a ten-foot-wide, multi-use trail from Corporate Dr. to Richardson St. This is a great public improvement!  Not only do we get increased walkability/connectivity, but also, as Mr. Knudsen pointed out in tonight’s meeting, this is good long-term planning.  After all, what do we want in Simpsonville? A trail!  And here’s one small trail that could potentially be a part of the bigger trail we’re working with the National Parks Service and concerned citizens on. And that’s exciting!
  3. Speaking of long-term planning, I am also excited that Council unanimously approved the appointment of Chief Wesley Williams as City Administrator Pro tem. So here’s the thing: Simpsonville has experienced a great deal of instability over the last several years.  Dianna Gracely (who we’re so happy to have now!) makes the 4th City Administrator who’s been at the helm in my short tenure on Council.  Especially with the unexpected and tragic passing of Mr. Eddie Case, we realized that we need to be better prepared (in advance) for how the city moves forward in the absence of a City Administrator. We don’t need to be caught unawares and scrambling to decide what happens if something keeps the City Administrator from being able to do her job (although we certainly hope nothing will ever happen to Ms. Gracely). The idea of a pro-tem Administrator was first broached by Mr. Cummings.  We talked it out, and we decided this is the right choice in planning for the future. The appointment essentially mirrors that of the Mayor Pro Tem, and “pro tem” really just means “temporary.” So in the event that Ms. Gracely cannot–for whatever reason–serve in her role as City Administrator, Chief Williams will serve in her place temporarily.  They will work together closely to make sure that Chief Williams is apprised of any business, processes, or procedures that he may need to understand in Ms. Gracely’s absence to keep the city running smoothly. Given his experience, dedication, and vast knowledge of everything Simpsonville, Chief Williams is the obvious choice for this appointment.  Better planning for the future will always excite me. That’s what this is. And it’s what I promised to work on back in 2015/2016. 


Meeting Updates

ICYMI: here are some updates from last night’s Committee of the Whole meeting:

Public Works

  • All temporary easements have been sign and work will soon begin on the sidewalks in Woodside Mill area.
  • Engineering work has begun on the headways in Hunters’ Hill road and Powderhorn Dr.
  • Street crews have cleaned 60 storm drains to allow for quicker removal of standing water in roadways.
  • Creek crossing at Grandview repairs are underway. We only have one remaining in Poinsettia.

Police Department

  • Police Department has renewed their traffic safety grant in the amount of $62,000.00. The grant funds the position and benefits for this program.
  • A replacement traffic counter has been ordered to allow us to finish the traffic study in Hunters Woods.

Fire Department

  • Progress is still being made on Station Five.
  • Fire Department personnel will be participating in Fire Safe SC held by the State Fire Marshal Office to address reducing fire deaths within the State.

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Rec have cleaned up the plaza area on North Main Street in front of Shortfields and will continue on South Main in the following weeks.

Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber has requested they be allowed to submit a monthly report as other departments within the City in lieu of appearing monthly. Staff have suggested that they appear quarterly, and they were receptive to this.


  • Planner I, Ben Hyde’s first day was the day of this meeting: September 26th. We look forward to having him on board and are excited about what he can bring to Simpsonville.
  • We have made some office changes at City Hall to allow for a conference room.
  • Interim City Administrator, Chief Wesley Williams, will be attending the Greenville Administrator meeting on September 20th.

Other new hires for August were:

  • Brandon Davis – Police
  • Diane Kennedy – Police
  • Michael Milam – Fire
  • James Mosley – Police
  • William Preston – Fire
  • Travis Tarrant – Recreation

We welcome these new employees to Team Simpsonville!  It takes all of us working together–One Simpsonville–to make Simpsonville the best it can be!

Meeting Recap 1.10.17

Last night, Council met for the January Business Meeting.  Council was presented with 3 items referred by the Planning Commission:

  1. 2nd Reading of Z-2016-02, Rezone Part of Tax Map #0574.02-011.00 (401 Neely Ferry Road). Passed unanimously.
  2. 1st Reading of AXZ-2016-07, Annexation/Rezoning of Tracts of Land on Harrison Bridge Road Tax Map #’s 0566.02-01-010.01, 0566.02-01-010.02 & part of 0566.02-01-010.07. Passed 6-1 (Dissent: Lockaby).

There was a good deal of discussion on this particular item.  In part, this is because Council heard from the public that this item was a matter of concern.  Also, the Planning Commission had voted to deny this proposal at its meeting back in November. At that time, when I was asked about it, I said this.

Between then and now, a lot happened.  The developer really took to heart the issues the public, the Planning Commission, and Council raised. I, for one, was asked what compelling reasons might lead me to vote for this proposal, given it was recommended denial by the Planning Commission.  In short, my 3 areas of concern were traffic, density, and the single-family home involved in the project.  This was my full response. Ultimately, I feel like I was provided with information to support the need for this apartment complex. I feel more comfortable with the traffic issues, and I am certain (having been provided with an apartment inventory report and apartment vacancy report) that we have a need for “high end” units like those proposed in this project for business professionals and those downsizing. Also, the issue with the single-family home was resolved, and that homeowner is now supportive of the project.  I fully believe that with this new information in hand, the Planning Commission would agree.  Therefore, I voted in favor of the 1st Reading.

  1. SP-2017-01, Bessinger Innovative Development, Major Change. Passed unanimously.

Mr. David Holmes presented one other item for business: he asked Council to grant authority for signing official documents to someone in City Hall.  Previously, Council had appointed Ms. Long, City Clerk, to sign for police grants that we knew were heading our way.  Last night, we agreed to have Ms. Long continue signing any official documents until a new City Administrator is hired.

Council then went into Executive Session for the discussion of employment, appointment, compensation, promotion, demotion, discipline, or release of an employee in the Administration Department.

Upon returning to open session, Council voted 6-1 (with Braswell dissenting) to extend an offer of employment to Mr. Eddie Case for the position of City Administrator. Mr. Case has been City Administrator in Fountain Inn for the last 11 years and brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge that will undoubtedly be an asset to the City of Simpsonville moving forward.

This is important because we need a highly qualified and experienced leader who can hit the ground running…and fast. We have several high-priority issues that we need to deal with, including completing the hiring of the new Police Chief, resolving the ongoing issues related to leaf and brush pick-up, completing the new Fire Station, and completing the budget for our next fiscal year.

That’s your recap! Next meeting is a Committee of the Whole meeting on January 24th at 6:30 PM, City Hall.


Meeting Recap 1.4.17

Tonight the Simpsonville City Council met for a special called meeting.

As previously discussed, our City Administrator, Mr. David Dyrhaug, is leaving his post at the City of Simpsonville. His last day is this Friday, January 6th.  In the last week, city staff have been working together to ensure that in his absences, everyone knows who is responsible for what.  Even so, there were a couple of items Council had to meet and decide upon.

Tonight Council acted on two items:

  1. Council voted to give Ms. Phyllis Long, City Clerk, the authority to sign some grant paperwork that will be coming in next week.  Typically, this would be signed by the City Administrator.  The grants are grants that have been awarded to our Police Department. Now, Ms. Long will be able to sign those documents, ensuring we are in compliance for receiving those funds.
  2. Council voted to have Ms. Long, City Clerk and HR Director, begin the process of recruiting a new City Administrator for the City of Simpsonville.  Obviously, this is an important step to take now that staff transition plans are in place for Mr. Dyrhaug’s exit. The City Administrator is an important role, and it’s one we need to work on filling as soon as possible. This is the first step.

That’s your recap!   Our next meeting is Tuesday, January 10th at 6:30 PM.

Resignation: City Administrator

Tonight Council accepted the resignation of City Administrator David Dyrhaug, who will be returning to his roots in city planning. During a time of uncertainty, Mr. Dyrhaug answered a call to serve. He stepped up in our time of need; and for that, this city and her citizens will always be grateful. We wish him nothing but success as he continues his journey in public service, returning to his passion.dd-resign-letter