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Mayor's Message- May 2023

Thu, 05/25/2023

Mayor Pat O'Neil

Dear Island neighbors,

As you may have heard (and hopefully participated in), we had an election on May 2 for three open seats on Council. We had four fine candidates in Summer Eudy, Ned Higgins, Carl Hubbard and Jody Latham, all motivated by their love of the Island. Congratulations to Carl, Jody and Ned who will be joining us on Council at our meeting on June 20. Please join me in thanking all four candidates for their willingness to stick their necks out and to serve.

In other news, the theme seems to be public safety...

Congratulations to two of our Town police officers who have recently received very well-deserved promotions!

Glenn Meadows has been appointed Deputy Chief of Police for the Sullivan’s Island Police Department. Glenn is a law enforcement renaissance man, with over 40 years of experience. After 25 years with the Newport News, VA, police department, he served in law enforcement and advisory positions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as an instructor for the US State Department’s International Global Anti-Terrorism Assistance program. But he’s not focused on SWAT Team work here: Since joining our department, he has worked vigorously for the greater community of which we are a part, by organizing the police department’s annual Toys for Tots Christmas Bike Drives and the first department community blood drive.

Sydney De Nett has been promoted to Training Sergeant. In addition to her usual patrol and related functions, she oversees the scheduling, implementation and documentation of training, and coordinates community events. Sydney got her start with the Town in 2017 as a beach services officer, quickly moving on to graduation from the SC Criminal Justice Academy. Her appointment as Training Sergeant is appropriate, because she is a non-stop learning and training machine! She has earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the Citadel and a certificate in corrections from Trident Technical College, and is working towards her master’s degree in criminal justice at Charleston Southern University! Sydney also serves as a Narcan instructor, a Specific Skills instructor, and an instructor in DUI-related matters such as standardized field sobriety tests.

Thanks to Chief of Police Chris Griffin for his success in recruiting and advancing such talented, smart and committed law enforcement officers for the safety of our Island residents and visitors!

I am happy to report further progress in establishing regional collaborations for managing public safety issues related to the growing number of folks who come out to spend time with us, especially on good-weather days. Traffic, of course, but as we learned recently, other more serious public safety problems can also visit our local beaches.

In recognition of the regional nature of that challenge, our Charleston County Councilmember, Sullivan’s Islander Larry Kobrovsky, recently instigated a very productive meeting involving him, his County Council colleagues Jenny Honeycutt and Joe Boykin, and the mayors of the Isle of Palms, Folly Beach and Sullivan’s Island. After that initial meeting, we had a very promising follow-up meeting including all of that group plus the Administrators and Police Chiefs of the beach towns and Mount Pleasant. Importantly, Councilmember Honeycutt, as Chair of the County Council Public Safety Committee, invited a number of key County-level emergency management and public safety leaders.

One outcome of this meeting was an agreement that the County emergency management folks would serve as the coordinating point for all interagency efforts dealing with beach-related safety and traffic, just as they do for hurricanes and other countywide events affecting public safety. Another outcome was a serious commitment to establish county-wide interagency assistance agreements, so that public safety officers from one local jurisdiction can quickly and legitimately assist other jurisdictions with safety and traffic management when needed.

There’s lots more to do to make it all work, but this represents a giant step forward in getting regional assistance for management of our beach-visitor-related public safety issues. That makes sense given that we host day (and evening) visitors from all over the Charleston area.

It is also heartening to see a growing recognition of the fact that the frequent nice-weather doubling, tripling or quadrupling of our beach communities’ populations are predictable EVENTS with huge regional public safety implications, like college football games, the Cooper River Bridge Run, etc., and warrant being treated as such.

Thanks, County Councilmembers Kobrovsky, Honeycutt and Boykin!

Speaking of nice weather and safety, it’s time for the annual reminder about golf cart safety and laws. We have had a recent horrible example of the vulnerability of people in golf carts that are hit by autos, but please remember that even at relatively slow speeds, a golf cart is no match for vehicles that are much heavier and better protected.

Please be aware of the State laws that govern use of golf carts and legally designated “Low Speed Vehicles” (LSV) on public roads, and thereby our Island roads (which are almost all owned by the state).

The driver of a golf cart or LSV on a public road must have in hand a valid driver’s license (sorry, kids) and vehicle registration for the cart. Open container laws regarding alcoholic beverages apply to golf carts and LSVs just as they do to cars and trucks (sorry, grownups). And unless it’s an LSV, it can’t be driven on public roads after dark.

Regarding seat belts, they may or may not be required by state law, but the laws of physics should be convincing:

If your child is not safe unbelted inside an SUV, why would he or she be safe unbelted in an open light-weight vehicle? The other vehicle, and the pavement, are just as hard in any case.

Please review some of the regs at or state statutes 56-2-105 (golf carts) and 56-2-100 (LSVs).

See you around the Island!

Pat O’Neil
843 670 9266
Twitter: @oneilpm1