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The Post and Courier provides a forum for our readers to share their opinions, and to hold up a mirror to our community. Publication does not imply endorsement by the newspaper; the editorial staff attempts to select a representative sample of letters because we believe it’s important to let our readers see the range of opinions their neighbors submit for publication.

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Letters to the Editor: Readers react to airport CEO selection

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Charleston County Council Chairman Elliott Summey (copy)

Charleston County Council Chairman Elliott Summey was selected Monday to become the new CEO of Charleston County Aviation Authority. File/Andrew J. Whitaker/Staff

Smell of back-room politics

Thanks go to Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg (via proxy) and board member Henry Fishburne for their principled stance on not rubber stamping the selection of Elliott Summey as CEO of the Charleston County Aviation Authority.

What in the name of collusion, nepotism and back-room politics happened in this selection process?

As a public body, every position from receptionist to janitor and especially CEO should go through an open and transparent application and selection process.

This selection did neither on any front. Also, should we assume North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey will give up his seat on the board due to conflict of interest since his son will be CEO?

Lastly, despite no aviation or engineering background, Mr. Summey’s salary will be more than five times that of a 20-year Charleston County schoolteacher with a master’s degree. Let that sink in.


Mathis Ferry Court

Mount Pleasant

Board pulled a fast one

The Charleston County Aviation Authority Board pulled another fast one. Perhaps its members thought everyone would be too distracted by the impeachment trial to notice that they bypassed the appropriate process to make another political appointment to the lucrative airport director position.

Charleston airport board offers Elliott Summey CEO job amid controversy

Fortunately, we had a few principled people on the board. Mayors John Tecklenburg, Charleston, and Will Haynie, Mount Pleasant, voted against it; and one member, Henry Fishburne, resigned in protest.

Ours is now a major metropolitan airport that deserves and needs a qualified, experienced professional director.

This position should have been filled via an open national search.

The idea that you can appoint a politician to run anything is obsolete. Is it any wonder that we continue to hear derogatory comments about old-fashioned Southern politics being alive and well?


Farmfield Avenue


Good ol’ boy system

Hicks column: Elliott Summey quietly has big plans for the county in 2020

Charleston County Aviation Authority’s selection of Elliot Summey to lead as the new airport CEO is testimony to the good ol’ boy system, which is alive and thriving in South Carolina.

The board could have completed an open selection process and arrived at the same result. Why didn’t they?


Tides End Road


Here we go again

Unbelievable. After the debacle of a search for the University of South Carolina president, you’d hope our representative leaders would have learned something about leadership. Instead, here we go again.

The Charleston County Aviation Authority voted to ignore good governance, best practices and common sense with the behind-doors appointment of another career government operator as CEO.

When young naval officer Jimmy Carter bragged to Admiral Hyman Rickover about graduating in the Top 100 of his class at the Naval Academy, the experienced Navy leader challenged him, asking him “why not the best?”

When it comes to selecting university presidents, airport CEOs and other public roles, our South Carolina representatives should be asking, “Why not the best?”

Isn’t that what we citizens deserve?

Get a weekly recap of South Carolina opinion and analysis from The Post and Courier in your inbox on Monday evenings.


Palm Cove Way

Mount Pleasant

Letters to the Editor

Statues of ‘heroes’

To those in our community who support retaining statues of Confederate “heroes” on our town squares or plantations as appropriate venues for weddings, I offer this food for thought: Try finding monuments honoring Hitler or Himmler on German public property or advertisements for Bergen-Belsen or Dachau as a possible wedding site. Have you no shame?


Ivy Circle


Fortney ‘Pete’ Stark

An article in the Jan. 26 Post and Courier reported the recent death of former California Rep. Fortney “Pete” Stark Jr.

It described some of his many political accomplishments, including expanding public health care.

What the article did not mention was that Stark did something unique and bold in the history of Congress.

He was the first openly atheist member of Congress. In 2007, he acknowledged being an atheist in response to a questionnaire from the Secular Coalition for America, of which I was then president.

After that, he was publicly open about his atheism, was named Humanist of the Year in 2008 by the American Humanist Association, served on the advisory board of the Secular Coalition for America and continued to get reelected.

There is now a Congressional Freethought Caucus, but we can only guess how many current members of Congress are afraid to tell the truth about their nonbelief.

I’m hoping for a day when candidates’ religious beliefs matter no more than what kind of car they drive.


George Street


Housing options

We speak of separate housing for homeless and low-income people, environmental issues and a lack of amenities.

Our response is to build additional separate housing at a cost to taxpayers. A review of what other states are doing may provide other solutions.

In Washington state, people are dedicated to improving the environment, education, homelessness, low-income housing, and road and traffic impacts.

In this area, we witness development sprawl and a lack of “livable communities” for all.

In Washington state, the answer is apartments above businesses, shopping centers, and/or co-housing. Likewise, in Florida, back-in-the-day Charleston and other high-density areas used this approach.

Washington’s popular co-housing programs have low rent, a central kitchen and living area, separate bedrooms and baths, and are built on bus routes. American cities used to have apartments above businesses. Not everyone owned a car or had money to ride buses to work, but they could walk or ride a bike.

Developers of stores, malls and shopping centers could offer apartments to homeless and low-income people, perhaps through incentives or lower tax rates. This would save land for additional businesses, jobs and apartments. Such businesses could also provide job opportunities for renters.

We could say this is “out-of-the-box” thinking, but many cities have already implemented such. The question is, why not in this area?


Schooner Bend Avenue


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