Mark Lazarus Hits a Grand Slam

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.

3 Comments

  1. Mr. Gable, after reading your version of events at last Tuesday’s County Council meeting I am not sure what meeting you attended but it was not the one that I attended. For starters, I must assume that you were not present because everything that you reported is inaccurate.

    I arrived to the meeting at 5:55 and sat in the 6th row on the left facing the Council. Shortly after the start of the meeting Mr. Rollins was called up to speak. As soon as he spoke it was clear that there was tension in the room. A gentleman to my right said he is the CEO of the transit agency and he gets attacked by the same members of Council whenever he appears.

    After 4 or so minutes he sat down without incident. However approximately i hour later he was called back to the lectern. That is when the fireworks started.

    In your piece you state that Mr. Rollins was unprepared, full of hyperbole and members of Council took turns shhoting holes in his presentation. Mr. Gable I watched the entire exchange and nothing could be further from the truth. Here is what I saw and I challenge you to talk to anyone in my section because we all looked at each other as if to say “Can you believe how theyare treating this guy.

    I am from Vermont and I dont profess to know a lick about transit but Mr. Rollins came across a knowleageble, sincere, and articulate. However it was clear to me and several others that a few Councilman including the new Chairman did not like what he was saying. The more he showed respect to them the more they treated him with disrespect.

    The chairman at one point tells Mr. Rollins that he was “DISENFRANCHISED” and he was going to take steps to “FRANCHISE” him. Noone really knew what that meant or if that is even proper english but here is what I saw and felt. His comments felt boorish, racist and made me very uncomfortable.

    Mr. Gable you would do well to go watch the video. I relocated here in 2009 and have learned that local officials take pride in being the undependent republic but what I witnessed Tues. was a public embarresment because to me and everyone I spoke to Mr. Lazurus did not hit a home run, what he did was embarass Council, embarras himself and strke out.

  2. I’d love to see a video, any links?

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