The resignation letter submitted by Horry County Council member James Frazier last week stilled questions that have been making the rounds lately.
Frazier is the record holder for service on county council having been the representative for Horry County District Seven since the county established single member districts. He has represented the citizens of District Seven for 35 consecutive years.
Recently, however, Frazier became notable for his absences, having not attended a council meeting since September 2015.
State law provides that three straight unexcused absences, by elected or appointed officials, create an automatic vacancy in the seat they hold. The law further provides that the chairman of the council, board, commission or committee the absent member sits on is required to immediately notify the governor of the vacancy.
This was not done in Horry County. Frazier missed six straight council meetings beginning in October 2015, but no notification to the governor was given. While Frazier was absent due to medical conditions, numerous sources agreed they were conditions from which he would not recover.
This is not about individuals or their service. The law is in place to assure continued representation to the citizens affected by these absences.
Frazier’s letter makes his resignation from his seat on council effective March 1, 2016. It could be argued, according to a strict interpretation of state law, a vacancy has existed in the District Seven seat since November 2015.
James Frazier served the county long and honorably for 35 years, a record not in danger of being broken. Like many athletes and politicians, he probably stayed a bit too long, but knowing when to quit is often difficult for the person involved.
Below is a Public Servant profile featuring Frazier that I did for Carolina Weekly several years ago: