MOUNT PLEASANT — Former Councilwoman Linda Page was sworn in Tuesday as this town’s new mayor and quickly made her first big decision — picking Town Council members to serve on the town’s many committees.
Who’s serving where
Newly sworn-in Mayor Linda Page announced the following committee appointments Tuesday. They are expected to remain in effect for at least a year:
Finance: Chris O’Neal (chair), Thomasena Stokes-Marshall, Elton Carrier, Chris Nickels
Planning: Thomasena Stokes-Marshall (chair), Elton Carrier, Chris O’Neal, Mark Smith
Police, Legal and Judicial: Linda Page (chair), Elton Carrier, Thomasena Stokes-Marshall, Chris Nickels
Transportation: Linda Page (chair), Thomasena Stokes-Marshall, Elton Carrier, Chris Nickels
Recreation: Elton Carrier (chair), Gary Santos, Thomasena Stokes-Marshall
Annexation: Mark Smith (chair), Chris O’Neal, Gary Santos
Bids and Purchases: Mark Smith (chair), Ken Glasson, Gary Santos
Economic Development: Chris O’Neal (chair), Elton Carrier, Mark Smith
Fire: Gary Santos (chair), Chris O’Neal, Paul Gawrych
Public Services: Chris Nickels (chair), Gary Santos, Paul Gawrych
Human Resources: Chris Nickels (chair), Thomasena Stokes-Marshall, Ken Glasson
Water Supply: Mark Smith, Paul Gawrych, Ken Glasson
Waterworks: Linda Page, Mark Smith
Page, who was elected last week with 57 percent of the vote in a five-way race, said the appointments would contain “some surprises.” Four of her council colleagues — Thomasena Stokes-Marshall, Elton Carrier, Chris Nickels and Chris O’Neal — got prized spots on several high profile committees.
Newly elected members Mark Smith, Gary Santos and Paul Gawrych were appointed mostly to lower profile panels, as was Councilman Ken Glasson, who ran against her for mayor and sent out a late mailer critical of her education level.
“I would hope we would be able to use constructive conflict to get past any differences that are exposed tonight,” Page said of her appointments “There are people who are not going to get the committee appointments that they wanted.”
“I did not enter into any of these decisions in anger,” she added. “The bottom line is it is my term. I was elected mayor.”
Unlike Charleston County and the cities of Charleston and North Charleston —where all council members serve on the main committee — the town of Mount Pleasant operates on a strong council form of government. As with members of Congress, a council member’s influence and power depends in part on their committee assignments.
“It’s probably the most critical thing she will do in her first six months,” Carrier said of the appointments. “It’s telling the public who she wants to lead the town.”
The council’s Finance and Planning committees are considered some of the most important, as are Transportation, Recreation and its Police, Legal and Judicial committees. Others, such as Annexation, Fire and Water Supply committees, either seldom meet or rarely tackle a controversial issue.
While all Town Council members vote during their regular Tuesday evening meetings, the committees decide if an issue will be put on that agenda —and what it will look like, Councilman Chris Nickels said. “A ton of our work is done at the committee level,” he said.
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.