The mission of the City of Beaufort is to provide responsible, cost-effective, and courteous service with professionalism and integrity. Beaufort is a community of choice, building on our history and working in harmony with our natural environment to provide diverse opportunities for the highest quality of life.
We’re proud to say that Beaufort is where history, charm and business thrive!
Beaufort City Council
The Beaufort City Council is composed of five members, including the mayor. Each member is elected at-large by voters within the city limits to four-year, staggered terms, with elections held every two years.
Council members set policy and govern through their single employee, the city manager. The city manager is responsible for day-to-day operations, as well as carrying out policy decisions made by the City Council. Each member is devoted to keeping the well-being of the City and its residents and visitors top of mind while fulfilling their responsibilities.
Council members elect a mayor pro tem from within the body to serve in the absence of the mayor.
Council meetings are:
- Held the second and fourth Tuesday of each month
- Held at 1911 Boundary Street at the Beaufort Municipal Complex inside City Hall, 2nd Floor - Council Chambers
- Work Session begins at 5 p.m.; Regular Session begins at 7 p.m.
Work sessions are:
- Held the second and fourth Tuesday of each month
- Held at 1911 Boundary Street at the Beaufort Municipal Complex inside City Hall, 1st Floor Planning Conference Room
- Meetings start at 5 p.m.
City Council may hold an occasional special meeting throughout the year as needed.
Agendas & minutes
Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Minutes are available following approval.
Council members do not maintain offices at City Hall; however, official correspondence may be sent to the attention of the City Clerk.
Stephen Murray took office as mayor of the City of Beaufort in December 2020. He was first elected to City Council in 2014, and was serving his second term when he was elected mayor. He is a third-generation Beaufortonian. He graduated from Beaufort High School and attended the University of South Carolina Beaufort.
Mayor Murray owns two Beaufort-based small businesses, Kazoobie Kazoos and New South Shirts. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has twice honored Kazoobie as a Top 75 Small Business in the United States.
Mayor Murray is a graduate of Leadership Beaufort, Leadership South Carolina, and the Riley Center for Diversity. He is also a graduate of the Municipal Association of South Carolina Elected Officials Advanced Institute. He is past chair of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. He was founding chairman and is a board member of the Beaufort County Economic Development Corporation. He helped establish and is on the board of the Beaufort Digital Corridor.
He and his wife, Melissa, have twin girls.
Philip E. Cromer
Phil Cromer was elected to City Council in 2014. He is a native of Charleston, S.C. He served in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves.
Councilman Cromer has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of South Carolina, and a joint Masters of Public Administration from the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina.
Councilman Cromer also has an Associate Degree in Risk Management - Public Sector from the Insurance Institute of America. Prior to retirement in January 2014, he spent 23 years as a risk management consultant for the Municipal Association of South Carolina.
He is a 1987 graduate of Leadership Beaufort and a 2000 graduate of the Executive Institute of the State of South Carolina.
Councilman Cromer has served as town manager for the Town of Port Royal, administrator for the Town of Ridgeland, and Economic and Community Development coordinator of the Lowcountry Council of Governments.
He is currently the president of the Saint Andrew's Society of the Lowcountry.
Neil Lipsitz began his term on City Council in December 2020. He is a lifelong Beaufort resident. He graduated from Beaufort High School, and has a Bachelor of Science from USC-Coastal Carolina University, where he studied management and real estate.
He worked in his family’s department store – the Lipsitz Department Store in downtown Beaufort – which closed in 2009 after more than 100 years of operation. Lipsitz owned a shoe store on Bay Street, and also worked in real estate.
Councilman Lipsitz has been a docent at the Beaufort History Museum, and was a member of the Beaufort County Tax Equalization Board. Before being elected to council he served on the South Carolina Board of Nursing. He and his wife, Michele, have an adult son, Adam.
Mayor Pro Tem
Mike McFee was first elected to City Council in November 2008 and was re-elected in 2012 and 2016. He was mayor pro tem from 2014 to 2020. He won a Special Election in March 2021 to return to City Council and was elected mayor pro tem shortly after.
McFee graduated from Beaufort High School and earned a bachelor of science in business and biology from the University of South Carolina.
He has been a real estate broker for more than 25 years and works with HomeTown Realty.
McFee previously served on the city's Tourism Management Advisory Commission (TMAC) and Waterways Commission.
He is a past Chairman of the Board of the Greater Beaufort Chamber of Commerce and past president of the Beaufort Realtors Association. McFee recently served as chairman of the Small Business Development Advisory Board - University of South Carolina and is a member of Carteret Street United Methodist Church.
Mitch Mitchell took office as a member of City Council in December 2020. He is a proud graduate of Robert Smalls High School and South Carolina State College, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. States Marines Corps.
Councilman Mitchell lived a dual professional career as a military officer and commercial airline pilot. After 33 years of military service, he retired from the U.S. Air Force as a major general. After more than 34 years as a commercial airline pilot, he retired from Alaska Airlines as a senior captain and the Federal Aviation Administration as a pilot check airman.
He has served as a Beaufort History Museum and Penn Center trustee, Beaufort County Planning commissioner and community organizer.
Councilman Mitchell and his wife, Kelly, are the proud parents of three sons, three daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren.