January 13, 2022
You may have noticed most of the committees for your City Council met this week for the first time this year. The Council committees are where our department heads provide updates/reports on happenings within their areas and ongoing projects, project discussions start and deeper reviews and discussions are had for the City’s spending needs. At this week’s meetings the Chairs and Vice Chairs were also elected.
Next week on Tuesday, we will have our first Ways and Means meeting of the year where our financial results are reviewed in more detail as well as an update of ongoing capital projects.
The Committee meetings are a good way for residents to stay informed with what’s happening on our island. You can find agendas and meeting minutes here: https://www.iop.net/agendas-minutes. All meetings are posted on the online calendar and meeting material is posted at least 24 hours in advance. The City live-streams all meetings on the City’s Youtube page, where the recordings of past meetings are also available. Also, another way to stay informed, is at our monthly City Council meetings where each Committee Chair provides a recap of their meetings as well.
All meetings are held at City Hall, are open to the public and provide a time early in the agenda for citizen’s comments. It’s a great opportunity to have your voice heard.
Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to serve you.
City Council Retreat
January 7, 2022
This week our City Council participated in an offsite retreat Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning at The Post House Inn in Mt. Pleasant. With so many new council members joining this year, I felt it was important to step away before our work began for the year and spend time getting to know each other, building some camaraderie, defining what success will look like, review our strategic plan, receive training from the SC Municipal Association and discuss how we can best work and communicate with each other.
The two days together far exceeded my expectations. Our Council was fully engaged and participatory and walked away with a better understanding of their roles and each other. I’m confident our time together has laid the foundation for a successful year. A few Council members suggested a retreat should become standard operation procedure after each election.
I know any time we spend taxpayer dollars we need to be prudent and efficient. I think we were both this week and the payback will far exceed the cost of our time together.
As a result of our retreat, you may see us trying some different things. I’m hopeful any changes we make will make for more efficient meetings and use of time by our staff. In advance, I appreciate your patience as we settle into our roles. Our committee meetings start next week so we will have some new committee chairs that will be learning as they go to some degree.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you,
January 5, 2022
Happy New Year to everyone! Again, congratulations to the newly sworn in Council members and to the ones returning - thanks for coming back after the couple of years we’ve had!
I felt it was important to have a few opening remarks as this Council tenure begins to help set the tone for what can be expected and how we will operate.
Each new year brings a certain amount of hope, promise, and anticipation. Some of us make resolutions before the start of the New Year, while some do it the way my wife does - accomplish a task and say it should have been on my resolution list and cross it off! No matter how you celebrate the New Year or what your intentions are, I hope we can all collectively decide to turn the page on provoking our neighbors via social media and return to civil discourse. Because at the end of the day, that’s what we are, neighbors. Friends. We’re here for one another. Or, at least, we’re supposed to be. Who else is going to lend us some sugar, help us push our golf carts home, or notify us when our dogs escape the yard?
When I began campaigning last year, I wanted to anchor my platform in something other than the known issues facing our island. Something that might make a difference in our day-to-day dealings with one another. Something that might take affect at a quicker pace. My hope was we’d all be reminded how vital it is to treat one another with kindness and respect—two things that seem to have fallen by the wayside over the past few years.
Thus, the movement, “Contagiously Kind” was born.
My thought process was this: At some level, no matter our differences in values or opinions, we all want what’s best for our part of paradise. I’d like to believe that at our cores, we’d prefer to engage in meaningful, respectful discussions when it comes to issues facing us all. Issues I’m well-aware we’re all passionate about in our own ways.
That being said, while I will lead to foster a kinder community, I will not be a pushover or think the world is all roses and rainbows, as some might have suggested on social media. I can assure you that I did not survive and thrive in the corporate world for over 35 years without rolling up my sleeves and standing my ground to fight when needed. I will do the same for IOP, but every issue cannot be life or death. We must pick and choose our battles on the important issues that face us and learn to negotiate or compromise while we seek common ground
with our surrounding and supporting partners. If we’re always the ones crying wolf, others will stop paying attention to us at some point. I would rather save my fights for the things that really matter for the greater good.
I remember recently asking a dear mentor, “As an elected official, how do you really know you’re doing a good job?” (absent at election time!). He answered, “Make your decisions for the greater good and you’ll be able to sleep well at night and keep things moving forward.”
I said this when I was elected to City Council and again as Mayor—it’s not about what I want anymore, it’s not about my agenda or my personal desires. I’m now privileged with a position to listen to residents—to our neighbors—and ensure I understand what it is that you want and need to live here comfortably and cohesively.
So, in that listening vein, I plan to host events to increase dialogue and opportunities for face-to-face discussions. The first will be, “Coffee with the Mayor,” which will be held on the last Friday of each month. We will rotate around the restaurants on the island, so watch the city’s website for details each month. Secondly, I will be keeping scheduled office hours so that residents, business owners, or visitors can ask questions or learn about ongoing projects. And finally, I will introduce a frequent Mayor’s Message on the website and social media to provide context for decision-making and general updates.
I will still be engaging in the quarterly meetings with our business community, which were initiated mid last year, and my hope is that the attendance and engagement from this critical group will grow.
Over the past few years, there’s been solid progress on many fronts and we are beginning the year in great financial shape. Thank you Jimmy Carroll and prior Council members for your efforts to get us to a good beginning place. I’m hopeful we’ll continue that progress. We’re already kicking things off in the right direction because, for the first time maybe ever, Council will be taking some time over the next two days to do a little team building, get to know each other a bit, define what success will look like, discuss rules of engagement (how will we work together, how do we get things done, how we will treat each other, how we will communicate with each other) and receive some training from the South Carolina Municipal Association, review our strategic plan and council handbook. With so many new council members, I felt it was critical to schedule this working session right after inauguration to help create a unified team all focused on the same agenda.
I know at our special meetings we don’t usually have a mayor’s invocation and we won’t tonight, but I’m going to read a prayer that I hope captures the spirit of what I’ve
been talking about and my expectations for how we, as a council, will operate going forward. Listen as I read the Prayer for Humility:
O Father, give us the humility which realizes it’s ignorance,
Admits its mistakes, recognizes its need, welcomes advice,
Accepts rebuke. Help us to praise rather than to criticize,
To sympathize rather than to discourage, to build rather than to destroy,
And to think of people at their best rather that at their worst.
This we ask for thy names sake.
Thank you for listening. I’m excited for our New year, this new council, and what we can do together. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any other Council member to share your thoughts or ask questions. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to serve you in this role.