Tag: Horry County Chairman

Lazarus Promises to Listen to Voters, Gardner Already Has

Mark Lazarus is trying to convince voters he has undergone a character metamorphosis and is now running for county council chairman with a changed personality.
The latest is the ‘Lazarus is Listening Tour’ announced in a mailer sent to voters around the county. Putting ‘Lazarus listens’ together is one of the great oxymorons of Horry County political history.
Lazarus lost the chairmanship four years ago precisely because he didn’t listen to the voters or the many employees of county government, especially the public safety personnel.
Lazarus was not listening to the citizens about road problems that needed fixing throughout the county. He was intent on bowing to his Myrtle Beach Chamber pals and giving $40 million annually, from the county’s hospitality tax revenue, to the construction of Interstate 73 while citizens were asking for improvements on the ‘farm to market roads’, such as Hwy 90 and Hwy 905, that serve so many residents.
Lazarus was not listening to the demands of taxpayers for impact fees on new development, even though an advisory referendum showed 3 in 4 county voters wanted impact fees to help pay for the infrastructure and other services associated with new sub-divisions.
Lazarus was certainly not listening to the police and fire personnel working for the county asking for help with the long hours and low pay they were suffering from.
When challenged about how he was going to address these conditions by police and fire representatives at a community forum in Burgess, Lazarus stormed off the stage and out of the event with “I don’t have to listen to any more of this abuse.”
Lazarus and his then campaign consultant, Rep. Heather Crawford, doubled down on this demonstration that Lazarus ‘does not listen’ by calling the police and fire personnel asking the challenging questions “Thugs.”

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Budgets, Elections and Micromanagement in Horry County

There are six weeks to go before county voters will go to the polls to vote in local, state and federal primary elections.

The race which seems to be drawing the largest amount of attention throughout Horry County at this time is the Republican Primary contest for Horry County Council Chairman between challenger Johnny Gardner and incumbent Mark Lazarus.

At the same time, Horry County Council is considering its budget for Fiscal Year 2019, which begins July 1, 2018. Four weeks ago, Grand Strand Daily ran a story about the proposed FY 2019 budget calling it an election year budget because of provisions in the proposed budget that appear to be included just to attract voters to incumbents.

Unfortunately, this type of focus on the budget at election time does not serve the best interests of council or the citizens.

According to multiple sources within county government, decisions for Horry County are being micromanaged by a partnership between Lazarus and County Administrator Chris Eldridge.

This partnership proposed an average three percent merit raise for all county employees with somewhat larger raises targeted to public safety personnel (police, fire and EMS) in the FY2019 budget.

This is not to say the proposed raises are unjustified. However, this type of targeting and its associated hype during council’s Spring Budget Retreat appear to be more about the votes of county employees than the needs of the county. County employees along with their families, neighbors and friends comprise a large voting block.

The micromanagement partnership focus appears to be on the wrong issues, however.

Despite the proposed raises, Horry County Professional Firefighter Local 4345 of the International Association of Firefighters and Coastal Carolina Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 12 endorsed the candidacy of Gardner in the upcoming June 12, 2018 primary.