Pryor, Summey to lead council again

Pryor, Summey

Charleston County Council will be led again this year by North Charleston residents Teddie Pryor and Elliott Summey, who were re-elected chairman and vice chairman Thursday on a pair of 5-3 votes.

Attempts by a minority of council members to elect West Ashley Councilwoman Colleen Condon to one of the leadership roles were unsuccessful. Councilmen Dickie Schweers and Vic Rawl nominated Condon, first for chairman, then vice chairman, and joined her in the losing votes.

Council members holding the leadership roles enjoy more power in setting the agenda and in speaking for the county, and the chairman is paid an extra $3,000 yearly, on top of the $14,352 council salary.

Councilman Henry Darby attended the meeting -- his first since he suffered a head injury in September -- and solidified the majority support for Pryor and Summey. Darby was struck by a car in downtown Charleston on Sept. 2, while crossing Meeting Street at a crosswalk, and his injuries have kept him away from council and his job as assistant principal at Fort Dorchester High School.

"I'm not back to 100 percent, but I'm trying to get there," he said Thursday. Darby said he may be able to return to work next month.

Pryor and Summey will lead a nine-member council with several new faces this year.

Recently elected members Anna Johnson and Joe Qualey were welcomed at a swearing-in ceremony Thursday afternoon, before a large crowd that filled the Council Chambers.

Johnson replaced Curtis Inabinett, and Qualey replaced Paul Thurmond. Inabinett and Thurmond did not seek re-election in 2010.

Pryor and Schweers were re-elected in 2010 without opposition, and took the oath of office for their new four-year terms.

Summey served as master of ceremonies.

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"What you're going to do is something that's very important and very fulfilling," he told the new members of council.

Summey's father, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, held the Bible during Pryor's swearing-in, while Summey's mother, Magistrate Deborah Summey, administered the oath to Pryor, who also is North Charleston's tourism director.

Most of the people in the standing-room-only audience for the swearing-in ceremony were there to support Johnson, and they gave her a standing ovation after she took the oath. When Qualey followed, and noted his much smaller number of supporters, Johnson's fans stood and gave Qualey an ovation as well.

The ninth seat on council is vacant. Councilman Joe McKeown, who was re-elected without opposition last year, resigned earlier this month to take a position with the office of U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, whose campaign was managed by McKeown.

The filing period for candidates interested in McKeown's East Cooper council seat opens today and closes Jan. 18.

Reach David Slade at 937-5552.