By Paul Gable
With just a few appearances as Horry County Council chairman under his belt, Mark Lazarus hit a grand slam home run at Tuesday night’s regular meeting of council.
After many years of despairing over poor to non-existent leadership on Horry County Council, Lazarus has quickly stepped into the void, in my opinion.
He runs a good meeting and the other 11 council members seem comfortable with him at the helm. That’s certainly not a statement that could have been made very often, if at all, over the last several decades.
More importantly, however, Lazarus has shown he is not going to put up with the type of antics and BS that have come before council routinely in the past.
Lazarus demonstrated Tuesday night, if you are going to come before council with business, especially a request for money, you better have your facts in hand and be prepared to answer hard questions concerning them.
The specific incident I am referring to was the dressing down Lazarus gave to Coast RTA executive director Myers Rollins.
Rollins came before council, prior to third reading of the county budget, to request certain conditions be removed from Coast funding before the budget received its final passage.
Rollins’ presentation was full of hyperbole and numbers pulled out of the air with no real basis in fact. It was so obvious most of council quickly picked up on what was happening.
Council members Harold Worley, Carl Schwartzkopf and Gary Loftus took turns blowing holes into Rollins’ presentation.
But, it was Lazarus who took the spotlight with a summation that was positively brilliant. In a professional but firm manner, Lazarus essentially told Rollins Coast hadn’t even tried to meet the conditions council had requested; he (Rollins) was totally unprepared to speak before council; his answers to council questions were inaccurate at best and the days of council rolling over before this type of nonsense were over.
Worley, Schwartzkopf and Loftus loaded up the bases and Lazarus hit it out of the park.
When it was over, the first thought that came to my mind was ‘council has finally found a leader.’
I couldn’t help but think further that this type of leadership could have helped prevent the great giveaway called the Multi-County Business Park; the loss of over $20 million on the failed west side airport terminal project; the out of control government monopoly called the Horry County Solid Waste Authority and periodic giveaways to AvCraft for ghost job creation promises.
For too long, I have described council as 12 sheep being herded around by special interests looking for a handout rather than help. I hope those days are over.