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Trash pickup will be conducted by Republic Services on Wednesday, May 29 and Saturday, June 1 due to Memorial Day Closures.

Mayor's Greeting- April 2024

Mon, 04/08/2024

Mayor Pat O'NeilDear Island Neighbors,

As many of you know, our able Town Administrator of 21 years, Andy Benke, is finally making good on his threat to retire. Andy is leaving quite a fine legacy, which we’ll get to in a future column. However, at our Town Council meeting on March 19 we selected our next Town Administrator, Joe Henderson, who is currently serving as our Deputy Administrator. The appointment will take effect at our regular Council meeting on June 18.

This capped off a long and deliberate process. Although of course Council made the final selection decision, we had a search committee that participated in the process from its start in October of last year. The search committee consisted of Mayor Pro Tem Justin Novak, Council Administration Committee Chair Jody Latham, outgoing Town Administrator Andy Benke, HR Director Pam Otto, and the mayor. We consulted from the beginning with the Municipal Association of South Carolina, whose Field Representative Ashley Kellahan was tremendously helpful in guiding us on best practices. We advertised the position at our website, the Municipal Association of South Carolina job board, Monster.com, and that other newspaper.

This yielded 23 applications from SC and a number of other states. We first winnowed this field down to 13 whose applications were scored in detail. From that group we selected 8 applicants for interviews, and then got consent from 5 of them for us to check their references. After reviewing all the available information, Council voted unanimously to offer the position to Joe Henderson, who did an excellent job as Director of Planning and Zoning from 2013 until his well-deserved promotion to Deputy Administrator in 2022. I have no doubt that Joe will provide excellent stewardship and leadership in the years to come!

We’ll have more about these changes in the next couple of months, as we also begin the search for our next Deputy Administrator.

AND ANOTHER HIRE, FOR A NEW POSITION
I’m delighted to report the selection of the Town’s first Director of Resilience and Natural Resource Management. Rebeca Fanning has dedicated herself to environmental preservation, restoration and education for more than ten years. Her experience started with several years along the California coast before returning to her native Charleston, where she has helped more than 20 local organizations in their efforts to restore and enhance our Lowcountry environment.

Rebecca has earned Master’s degrees in Environmental Science and in Public Administration from the College of Charleston, after an earlier Bachelor’s degree in Russian Language and Literature from Bard College. Let’s hope she won’t need that Russian as she works along our coast and waterways!

Kudos to Gary Visser, Chair of the Council’s Land Use and Natural Resources Committee, for his leadership in establishing and filling this new and long-needed position.

And special thanks to Pam Otto for her organizational efforts with the searches for this post and the Administrator’s.

ABOUT THAT YARD DEBRIS
As spring cleaning efforts pick up speed, this is a good time to remember a couple of things. Republic Services handles pickup of our garbge, yard debris and recycling. For yard debris, our contract covers pickup only of clippings, cuttings, branches, etc that are produced by the resident. It does not cover stuff produced by landscaping companies. So if you use a landscaping service, they are responsible of removal of what they cut, rake, blow etc. Please ensure that they do this.

For materials produced by residents, tree limbs should be less than 4 feet long and 4 inches in diameter.  Because of limited capacity of the trucks, Republic may not be able to pick up infinite amounts of yard debris piled up by very hard-working residents, so if you create lots of stuff for the curb, it may take a couple of trips before it can all be collected. Please be patient.

BEACH RENOURISHMENT ON SULLIVAN’S ISLAND?
Fortunately, beach renourishment is seldom needed for the Island. However, the beach on our eastern (IOP) end is very dynamic, including periodic erosional periods.

An interesting opportunity has appeared in an Army Corps of Engineers project related to dredging of the Intracoastal Waterway. Because of space limitations in the areas where the spoil from dredging is placed, the Corps has embarked on a beneficial use project for some of that material, to renourish the Breach Inlet ends of IOP and SI. The specifics are still being worked out but the Corps has engaged their contractor to move the stuff from the spoil sites to the general area of our beaches. However, this does not include actually spreading it on the beaches. We on SI have engineers designing possible approaches to getting our sand to our beach (or at least closer) and will then approach contractors for bids. It may be possible to also deposit some of this material on high ground behind the beach at Breach Inlet, for future possible use elsewhere on the Island.

This is a work in progress. We’ll have more details when available.

ARBOR DAY
As a recognized Tree City USA community for eight years, each spring we continue the national tradition of celebrating the importance of trees with our Arbor Day Recognition. This year that will be on April 26 from 11:30 to 4:30 at Stith Park. There’ll be plenty of activities for grownups and kids, music, sapling giveaways, etc. For details, go to; https://bit.ly/SIArborDay  .

See you around the Island!

Pat O’Neil
Mayor
843 670 9266
Twitter: @oneilpm1
oneilp@sullivansisland.sc.gov