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Town of Mt Pleasant Council {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Town of Mt Pleasant Council Seats
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    Kathy Landing (NP) Certified Financial Planner and FInancial Advisor

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    Tom O'Rourke (NP) Professor of Practice at Clemson University, Former Executive Director of Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission

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    Gary K Santos (NP) Port Manager for South Carolina

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    GM Whitley (NP) Chief Operating Officer - Whitley Household

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Biographical Information

Why do you want to represent the citizens of Mount Pleasant as a member of Town Council?

What experiences qualify you to represent the citizens of Mount Pleasant on Town Council?

Do you believe that Mount Pleasant Town Council meetings should be more transparent? If yes, what steps would you take? If no, please explain.

Do you support changing representation on Town Council from at-large to single member districts? Please explain your position.

Do you believe that Mount Pleasant government is effective and efficient with a part time Mayor and strong Town Council? Please explain your response.

How would you address the effects of rising seas on our tidal marshes and waterways? How would you allocate sufficient funds to mitigate flooding and drainage issues on roads and neighborhoods?

What is your position on a moratorium on new building projects in Mt Pleasant?

Would you support signage at Mount Pleasant’s historical sites that accurately portrays our Confederate past and the part that slavery played in our heritage?

Campaign Phone (843) 860-3919
Age 54
Education 1983 Bachelor of Science, Duke University 1996 Master of Science, College for Financial Planning
Experience 32 years finance industry including budgeting, investment planning, investment policy statements, etc... for individuals, multi-generations of families, corporations and foundations. Have served as a volunteer Treasurer for many organizations. Served on the Hibben United Methodist Finance Committee. Chaired numerous successful fundraisers for various non-profit organizations. Served as Board Chair for the Carolinas Chapter of Operation Smile for 8 years. Currently serve as Treasurer and Education Chair for the SC Society of Mayflower Descendants.
Candidate Email
I believe my strong training and experience in problem solving, diplomacy and communications can help lead our local government as Mt. Pleasant continues to grow and flourish. There is too much noise about what can't or shouldn't happen here, and I know we can improve life for all our residents if we focus on what can and should happen. My vision for our community includes having young people such as my own grown children desiring to stay here after college to build their own lives in the most beautiful, livable place in our country. I would like to serve in order to keep Mt. Pleasant true to its name for generations to come.
For over 32 years I have worked professionally with individuals & corporations in goal setting, budget planning and working to achieve financial objectives. My community service has spanned everything from the arts, to medical missions, to local church, to historical and cultural preservation, often with positions of leadership including treasurer, chairperson and various board memberships. This diverse and demanding background affords me a strong breadth of experience to be able to meet the challenges of serving the citizens of Mt. Pleasant as a very proactive, effective council member.
Yes, I believe all meetings should be well publicized on both the town website, local papers, and social media so that anyone concerned about current issues can attend, and everyone else can attend as desired. Also, meetings should be run in an efficient manner such that they last no longer than 3 hours, preferably 2 hours. Beyond 2 hours, most people will have trouble focusing and staying positive, and little is to be gained by turning the meeting into a test of endurance. By keeping the meetings moving ahead and not dragging on all night, more of our residents will be able to remain to participate and hear all the issues as well as be present for critical votes.
A dramatic shift from our current system to one that allows for each citizen to have just one vote and one representive from 8 different districts may cause a number of unintended consequences. I believe strongly that the best way to bridge the gap between those that would like to remain fully at-large and those who would like to move to single member districts is to introduce a hybrid approach. With 5 districts representing approximately 18,500 members per district, plus 3 at-large councilmen representing the overall community, every area of town would feel that it had representation; yet, every resident would be able to vote for 4 out of the 8 councilmen in an election. So we would accomplish what both sides seem to want, better representation while still having a strong voice in the voting process, and stop wasting so much time fighting over this subject.
Our community has grown enough that we should seriously consider increasing the Mayor's official status to full-time. It appears that the job already has enough responsibilities that it takes up much more than a part-time position anyway.The Council should study the rules carefully and consider whether the Mayor should remain as a one-vote position or perhaps full-time.
Flooding and drainage issues on roads and neighborhoods in Mt. Pleasant are identified in the current Capital Improvement Plan list in the 2017 Budget as areas that need addressing. The Snee Farm drainage issues were listed higher as a priority, and the Old Village drainage needs are also on this list. The Town was able to secure an excellent 1.4% State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan that is expected to be paid off relatively quickly (estimated at about 5 years or less) to borrow the cost needed to start the Snee Farm drainage solution right away, and pay the loan off through already anticipated stormwater fees. Recently, the Council Finance Committee voted to allow multiple types of loans at one time, and this will let bankers know that we are in a position to manage different lines of credit. This paves the way for potentially borrowing through a similar, low cost loan in order to address the Old Village or other identified needs. Also, we ran a surplus in the most recent fiscal year budget of $6 million, some of which will be allocated to the Capital Improvement Plan.
Blunt tools such as moratoriums and permit allocations should only be used as a temporary measure if at all. Residents were ultra-concerned about the recent increase in multi-family structures, so the apartment moratorium was an emergency response. We need thoughtful growth where projects fit the needs of the community and infrastructure keeps pace with building. If we follow the Comprehensive Plan drawn up by a diverse cross-section of our community, there should not be all the concern about building activity that is out of control because it would not happen. The earlier Comprehensive Plan was often ignored, which may have lead to some if not much of the disappointment in overbuilding and the creation of more "sprawl" in the last several years.
I am in favor of the truth, and often this is not what people want to see. Additional signs may be appropriate, but more importantly I would like to see more heroes and heroines of the Abolitionist movement, the post-Civil War era, and the Civil Rights era honored with statues, plaques, etc.... If we spend all our time judging the past based on the context of today, potentially many leaders or heroes of history would not stand up to this test, whether it be slavery, anti-Semitism, poor treatment of women and/or children, and many other issues that we find repugnant in today's world. History has to be judged based on the knowledge and circumstances of the time, and we should embrace this just as today's leaders face difficult decisions and problem solving using today's knowledge and values in society. Also, we should spend more time and energy fighting slavery in today's world which is tragically still very much in effect in many countries.
Campaign Phone (843) 345-3915
Age 61
Facebook Tom O'Rourke
Education BS Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock Pennsylvania, 1978 Health, Physical Education and Recreation
Experience 8 year Recreation Director for Town of Mt. Pleasant, 16 year's as Executive Director of the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission where I had complete oversight over the Agency.
Candidate Email
I would like to represent the citizens of Mt. Pleasant because I am interested in doing what is necessary to create a Mt. Pleasant that that will be a model community in 2040 and beyond. In order to do that there needs to be a comprehensive plan which guides the leaders. I feel as if I have the necessary knowledge of every aspect of what it takes to operate a community. I have done it at Charleston County Parks. I also have had the opportunity to utilize my government finance background to insure that we have the funds necessary to address the needs of the Community. I moved to Mt. Pleasant in 1978 to become a teacher, Athletic Director, and Coach at the old East Cooper School. The irony of this is that the New Town hall and recreation complex is that exact same site where I had my first job. 39 years later I have seen the growth change the landscape of our community. I would like to assist in creating a new and exciting vision for the future.
I understand Government and Politics. Which the Executive Director of the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, I was the responsible for preparing all staff recommendations to our Commission. These decisions ranged from policy decisions to finance and budget. Being a Government that is within the entire County, I had to have close relationships with all 11 Mayors. I am proud to say that I had a great relationship with all of them as we worked as partners for the things that CCPRC could do within their community. I understand Government Finance, I teach it in many forums. Understanding government finance is critical to operating an effective government. I will be able to bring that experience to the Town.
There are laws that govern this. All Mt. Pleasant Town Council meetings need to be held in an open forum. Executive Session items need to follow certain criteria in order to meet the law. I know that there have been issues about executive session, but I do not know of any filing where someone challenged the legality of this. My opinion of transparency is that this can not start at the Town Council level. Transparency is a reflection of culture. A culture that should start at every level of government. When an entire organization is as transparent at all levels, then there should be no problem with transparency at the senior level of management.
I am not in favor of Single Member Districts. As I mentioned, while at Charleston County PRC, I have had to work with multiple governments that operated within a single member district format. For me, it was almost like having 9 different Mayors. Each were mainly focused on their district, and I understand that because that is who they represent. When Council Members represent everyone, it is then that I think you have a unified community.
This question I think is related to the last question of single member districts. I think the discussions, which I am not against, should be about both, but this question is about what do I think. I like having a Council form of Government with a Mayor and a Town Administrator that runs that day to day business of the Town. Town Administrators are trained in this type of administration, and I think you get a better product if the experts, staff, lead the process, and therefore I do not think you get more efficiencies with a strong mayor form of Government.
We have a separate fee, (tax) for storm water in the Town of Mt. Pleasant. Like any other service the fees collected are either enough to fix our drainage problem are they are not. Without having any information on the capital needs for storm water and the budget to bond these projects I can't say. What I will say is that I am for the storm water "issues," being put in the same pot of money. I am not for general fund subsidies of a tax we are already collecting.
It depends on why a moratorium is being put in place. If it is to wait until the completion of the Comprehensive Plan so that we will then vote according to the densities laid out in that plan, then I might be able to vote yes.
YES I would, and I like this question. We should preserve all of our history, but the question was properly asked... would I support accurately portrayed history. I was the Executive Director of CCPRC when we purchased and renovated the McLeod Plantation Historic Site. There we tell accurate history of that period in our nations history. Some of it is not pretty, but I strongly suggest accurate historic interpretation whenever we can.
Campaign Phone (843) 514-2453
Age 59
Facebook yes
Education Associate Degree in Business Management - Leader Development from Trident Technical College
Experience Gary has served on Mt. Pleasant Town Council for 17 years and has served as Mayor Pro Tem for the last 2 years. As a Council Member for the Town of Mt. Pleasant, he has served on every Committee of Council during his tenure as an elected official and is currently serving as Chairman of the Bids and Purchases Committee. He is a member of the Fire Committee; Finance Committee and Water Supply Committee.
Candidate Email
I want to continue serving the citizens of Mt. Pleasant, my home town, in order to maintain the quality of life that has made our community one of the best places in the country to live and raise a family. From our excellent schools and low taxes to our outstanding recreation and business opportunities, Mt. Pleasant offers everyone an opportunity to live, work and play in a remarkable community and I am happy to have played a part, and to continue to play a part, in drafting and or sponsoring ordinances that have supported the quality of life that we have all come to enjoy and love.
Gary has served on Mt. Pleasant Town Council for 17 years and has served as Mayor Pro Tem for the last 2 years. Gary has an Associate Degree in Business Management – Leadership Development from Trident Technical College. He was awarded the 2017 National Transportation Week’s "Leader of the Year" award, the 2016 National Videographer’s Award of Excellence for “Be a Trendsetter – Ride CARTA!”, the 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award from Mt. Pleasant Recreation Department, the 2005 Recreation Advocate of the Year from Charleston Metro Sports Council and the 2005 Local Government Official of the Year Award from the South Carolina Recreation and Parks Association. Gary has worked on the Waterfront for 37 years and has served on the Board of Directors of the Maritime Association of South Carolina and is a member of the Propeller Club of Charleston. As a Council Member for the Town of Mt. Pleasant, he has served on every Committee of Council during his tenure as an elected official and is currently serving as Chairman of the Bids and Purchases Committee. He is a member of the Fire Committee; Finance Committee and Water Supply Committee. He is also a Board member and Vice-President of the Charleston Port & Seafarers Society. Gary has worked hard to protect your quality of life by drafting and or sponsoring Ordinances to Prohibit Smoking in the Workplace, support local businesses by creating the Town's “Vendor Partnership” program, protected the environment by sponsoring the “Abandoned Boat Ordnance” and allowed our citizens to have a voice in their Government by sponsoring ordinances that requires a Public Comment Period at every Council and Committee Meeting. As a member of Town Council, Gary helped commit over $200 Million dollars in funding for capital projects in partnership with state and federal agencies. He has worked hard to slow the growth in Mt. Pleasant in order for infrastructure to catch up and to keep our taxes low while providing excellent recreation opportunities for our adults and youth. Gary also secured 27 Acres of land from the SC Department of Transportation around the base of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge for our beautiful new Mt. Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park. As Chairman of the town's Recreation Committee, Gary pushed for the creation of the Town's Senior Center and instituted many recreation programs including, but not limited to, Track & Field, Middle School Football, Skateboarding, Youth Golf, Youth Sailing, Youth Wrestling, Cross-country running, Half Rubber tournaments, "Burn the Bridges" Kids Run, the East Cooper Coastal Triathlon and Paintball Tournaments. Gary was instrumental in securing funding for the "Bark Park" dog park, Swimming Pool and the NCAA approved Track at Park West as well as the Skate Board Park at the Jones Center. Gary also coached various sports for 37 years at the Mt. Pleasant Recreation Department including Football, Track & Field, Basketball, Soccer and Baseball.
I believe they could be. I think the agendas for the committee and council meetings could be a little less technical and a little more descriptive so that the average citizen could understand what exactly is being discussed.
No. I like to be able to vote for all eight elected officials who have the ability to spend my tax dollars and with an at-large system of government, I can do that. With single member districts, you only get to vote for one elected official.
Yes. I like the idea that it takes 5 Council Members to agree on something before it can become law.
Since we are at sea level, it is going to be difficult to eliminate the effects of rising seas. With that being said, I'm not sure allocating funds is the complete answer. Although Council recently increased impact fees to address some of these issues, the majority of roads in Mt. Pleasant including, but not limited to, the older parts of town like the Old Village, are owned by the State and it is their responsibility to maintain their roads so our communities do not flood every time there is a heavy rain. Hopefully, the new Council members will join the rest of us in pressing our State officials to fix their drainage issues.
I think in some cases it works well. It is a tool that can assist in managing growth and should only be used in extreme cases.
I think the signs need to portray the facts regardless of what the issues are.
Campaign Phone (907) 830-0311
Age 38
Education B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Southern California J.D. University of Chicago Law School
Experience Associate - O'Melveny & Myers Lecturer - University of Chicago President - Girls State Alumnae Foundation
Candidate Email
I would bring a fresh voice and perspective to Town Council. As a mother of four and a homemaker, my interest in serving on Town Council is rooted in a desire to ensure that Mount Pleasant remains a safe and beautiful place to live.
I hold a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Univ. of Southern California and a J.D. from the Univ. of Chicago Law School. I then taught at the University of Chicago and practiced law in Los Angeles before becoming Chief Operating Officer of the Whitley Household. I serve as President of the Girls State Alumnae Foundation and as a deacon at Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church. These roles provide me with a unique skill-set that qualifies me to represent the citizens of Mount Pleasant.
I believe that Mount Pleasant Town Council meetings should be more transparent. Agenda items should be clear and late night sessions should generally be avoided so that the public has opportunity for comment.
I do not support changing representation to single member districts. Currently, each Town Council member is accountable to all of Mount Pleasant, from Patriot’s Point to Tupelo. Moving to single member districts could create perverse incentives, where Town Council members only support the interests of a single district and not the greater municipality.
I believe Mount Pleasant government can be effective and efficient with a part-time Mayor and a strong Town Council. It is a legislative body, where consensus can be developed and fostered through effective cooperative leadership.
According to the Town Administrator, approximately a third of Mt. Pleasant's budget is directed toward infrastructure. The town is under significant regulatory burdens, which slow down the implementation of projects, even when fully funded. I would work to ensure that the impact fees for new developments are sufficient to properly mitigate flooding and drainage issues. For existing problems, I would work within the Council to triage and fund proposals to address flooding and drainage issues.
Moratoriums, subject to applicable law and property rights, can be used sparingly to allow the Town Council to evaluate projects in the pipeline and plan for future developments.
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