GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Greenville County Councilmembers elected Willis Meadows to be their chair. Meadows beat Liz Seman 7-5.

Meadows said the position is not about him.

“We’re here to work together, and we’re here to make the county a better place to live,” he said. “And that’s going to take a joint effort from everybody.”

Willis owns an insurance agency, but before that he worked as a school administrator and principal. He’s a Republican who’s served on council for 14 years.

The previous chairman, Butch Kirven, announced Monday he wouldn’t be seeking another term as chair. Kirven had served in that position for 12 of his 16 years on council.

“He congratulated me, and he says I’m willing to work with you anyway that I can,” Meadows said.

Councilman Joe Dill said he wanted to remove himself from consideration for vice chair after “soul searching,” and he instead nominated Dan Tripp, who won in a 7-5 vote against Lynn Ballard.

Tripp said he hopes council will be less tumultuous than it’s been in the past.

“We’ve all got to work together,” Tripp said. “The last two years have just been horrific. I mean, as a new councilman that’s been here two years, it’s been counterproductive…it’s not been a good use of anybody’s time.”

The leadership change comes as Greenville County faces challenges including a growing population, aging infrastructure, and the pandemic.

While the city of Greenville has enacted a mask mandate, the county has not.

“As far a mandate on masks, that’ll be a thing that the council will have to do or have to make that decision” Meadows said. He said he believes mask-wearing should be left up to individuals rather than mandated.

Both the chair and vice chair will serve two year terms.

The three new councilmembers, Steve Shaw, Chris Harrison and Stan Tzouvelekas were sworn in Monday evening.