‘It was not taken lightly’: Myrtle Beach City Council appoints new attorney

The welcome sign at the north entrance to Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The welcome sign at the north entrance to Myrtle Beach, S.C. jbell@thesunnews.com

Myrtle Beach leaders named a veteran lawyer to serve as the city’s new attorney.

William Bryan Jr. was appointed during Tuesday’s City Council meeting following a roughly two-month interview process that attracted 10 applicants, four of whom interviewed for the position. Bryan’s one-year term will begin May 23.

“I’m honored to be the next city attorney, I appreciate it,” Bryan said. “I look forward to working with everyone.”

Bryan, an attorney with over two decades of experience, will fill the vacancy created by city attorney Thomas Ellenburg, who in January announced plans to retire in June after 19 years of service. Bryan will receive a salary of $150,000 annually, the same as Ellenburg.

William Bryan, Jr. was appointed as Myrtle Beach’s City Attorney. His one-year term will begin May 23. Photo Courtesy of Collins & Lacy Attorneys At Law

Mayor Brenda Bethune said city officials were fortunate to have qualified candidates to consider for the position. She said it was a very difficult decision, but council members did their due diligence to choose the best candidate.

“Replacing someone like Mr. Ellenburg is very difficult,” Bethune said. “I want everyone to be assured that a lot of due diligence went into this, a lot of methodical thinking and analyzation of the information that we had. It was not taken lightly.”

Myrtle Beach Assistant City Attorney Joi Page, Attorney Alicia Thompson and S.C. Rep. Alan Clemmons were also vying for the position.

“I did read the resumes when they were first submitted and I must say, the folks who participated in this process have my highest respect,” Ellenburg said.

Bryan, a Murrells Inlet resident, is currently an attorney with Myrtle Beach law firm Collins & Lacy, P.C., and is the Partner-in-Charge of the firm’s Grand Strand office. He is a 1996 graduate of Hampden-Sydney College and earned his Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina in 1999.

Officials said Bryan has exhibited his strength as an attorney after representing the city as outside counsel in both state and federal courts throughout the years.

“There has been a lot of discussion about this and a lot of careful thought and consideration going over all the applicants and I think Mr. Bryan is well qualified to take over the spot of Mr. Ellenburg,” Councilman Gregg Smith said. “I’m looking forward to moving forward with a new city attorney.”

Anna Young is the Coastal Cities reporter for The Sun News covering anything and everything that happens locally. Young, an award-winning journalist who got her start reporting local news in New York, is dedicated to upholding the values of journalism by listening, learning, seeking out the truth and reporting it accurately. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from SUNY Purchase College.