Why Tom?

Why would I be good for Mount Pleasant Town Council?

I understand Government Finance. I teach government finance at the National Recreation and Park Association’s Directors School and also at Clemson University. Not only do I understand it, but I have also developed, balanced and executed an over 30-million-dollar operating budget at the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC). I also left my position as executive director with a Capital Plan that will allocate 50 million dollars of capital improvements every five years. Today, CCPRC’s general fund balance is over 15 million dollars. When I took the job at CCPRC, our fund balance was a little under 3 million. This lets us borrow at a much lower interest rate. Responsible financial execution and oversight of the public’s money may be our most important responsibility.

I have experience working with the government. While the executive director of CCPRC, I had the pleasure of working with all of the government agencies within Charleston County. There are 11 mayors in Charleston County and about 100 council members. I think I knew them all. Through my relationships with these other government officials I had the opportunity to lean from all of them. Populations of these communities may vary, but at the end of the day, elected people serve those within their jurisdiction. I have learned from many of the best.

I understand Mount Pleasant from a staff perspective. I was the Town recreation director for almost eight years. In those eight years, with the help of Council and our administrator, we accomplished tremendous growth with recreation facilities. For those who don’t know this, our Town staff is as good as they come. When I was a department director, our relationship with the Council members and Mayor was exceptional. We worked together, we respected each other, and we had fun. I would like to feed that type of culture.

I listen. When you are a senior manager of a public agency you understand that we work for the citizens we serve. Without the citizens, we have no jobs. I fostered an environment of open communication. I believe that we get a deeper understanding in matters when we listen to all sides of an issue. Town Council members cannot know it all. They will need to have the personality of a listener.

I know Mount Pleasant. Although I was not born here, I have been in Mount Pleasant since 1978 – almost 40 years. This is my Town. I remember the past. I knew Red Simmons and Junior Magwood. I ate lunch with Mayor Grogy Darby when his son, Gordy, was on my Recreation Committee. I went to church with Chuck Dawley. Dick Jones hired me as recreation director and I will never forget how great of a man he was. Mugsy Kerr was my recreation chair, and Cheryl Woods-Flowers was one of the most supportive people I ever worked for. History is important to me. Remembering our past is essential. It is easier to remember the past if you were there.