(Pictured above left to right – Chuck Canterbury, Rob Mullaney (podium) and Roger Odachowski)
A joint press conference Tuesday morning including Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police and a retired Horry County police officer, Roger Odachowski, President of the South Carolina Professional Fire Fighters Association of the International Association of Fire Fighters and Rob Mullaney, President Horry County Professional Fire Fighters Local 4345 of the IAFF, spoke of the reasons challenger Johnny Gardner has received the endorsement of their respective associations for Horry County Council Chairman.
Canterbury said Gardner’s willingness to sit down with FOP officials and discuss the county’s needs and explore solutions to the problems of understaffing in the police department was an important consideration for the endorsement.
“It is clear to our members that Johnny Gardner is the man to lead council,” said Canterbury. “He cares about this county and its people.”
Canterbury said current council chairman Mark Lazarus had cancelled several meetings for the same type of discussions.
“The only time Lazarus kept an appointment to meet with us was when he was seeking our endorsement,” Canterbury said.
Canterbury said HCPD is approximately 200 patrol officers below what is needed based on the population and area of Horry County.
Odachowski said Horry County Fire Rescue is approximately 230 fire fighters short based on the call volume and national averages for properly manning the county’s 41 fire stations. He said most county fire fighters suffer from fatigue due to 48 hour shifts and the call volume they respond to.
Odachowski spoke of a presentation he made to Horry County Council last winter during public input and the response he received. During the presentation, Odachowski offered solutions available from the IAFF but mispronounced Horry County several times.