By Paul Gable
Horry County Solid Waste Authority board chairman Lance Thompson sent a letter to Horry County administrator Chris Eldridge last month notifying Eldridge of the 5-2 vote by the HCSWA board recommending removal of Dan Gray from the HCSWA board.
The letter and its accompanying documents were obtained by GSD through a Freedom of Information Act request to Horry County government.
Included in the accompanying documents was a letter to Gray that states in part, “While the Board regrets having to make this decision, it has determined that you have engaged in an ongoing course of conduct, which appears to be designed to undermine the Board’s actions and to hamper the functioning of the Board in a deliberative manner.”
I submit the above statement is one of opinion, not fact. I further submit the HCSWA board rarely acts in a deliberative manner.
The HCSWA board certainly did not deliberate long on the decision to spend over $1 million of public money with a lobbyist to advocate against changing state law and local ordinances with respect to flow control of waste streams.
County council ultimately amended the county flow control ordinance over the objections of the HCSWA and its lobbyist.
I submit the entire issue of removing Gray from the HCSWA board is one of personal agendas of certain HCSWA board members, certain HCSWA staff and certain Horry County Council members. In other words, Horry County politics at its worst.
The HCSWA board has taken its vote and sent its letter. I expect that is as far as the issue will go.
Gray is a nominee of the League of Cities approved by vote of Horry County Council.
Council chairman Mark Lazarus has said he will not put the issue of removing Gray on council agenda if the League of Cities does not support the HCSWA vote.
Despite behind the scenes phone calls by some HCSWA board members to mayors in the county, sources tell me the League of Cities is firmly behind Gray remaining on the HCSWA board.
One can only hope HCSWA board members will now concentrate on setting policy for the waste authority rather than dealing with personal agendas.
With the Charleston County recycling deal currently running in a deficit, that issue is much more pressing than who sits on the board.
As an aside, the letter was not addressed properly, in my opinion. It should have been addressed to council chairman Lazarus, or at least to Horry County Council clerk Pat Hartley. This is council business, not business of the county administrator.
After over 20 years of operation, one would think the HCSWA understands by now who it actually reports to.