The names are in and the race for the Seabrook Island Town Council, Utility Commissioner and Mayor has begun. With four spots to fill on Town Council and four new candidates along with two incumbents in the running, the competition will be close. However, the position of Mayor is uncontested, with only Mayor Pro Tem William Holtz on the ballot. Though Holtz doesn’t have too much of a fight on his hands, he still wants the residents of Seabrook Island to know that his platform is similar to that of the current Council structure. “I basically want to continue the policies employed by Mayor McNulty and the present Council,” said Holtz. “The Town is financially stable and I want to keep it that way.” Holtz’s long range goals include continuing to work on the safety on the Johns Island roads, and becoming more involved with the issue of wind and hail insurance on the island. In particular, he would like the Town to become more involved with the Wind and Hail Insurance Group, “If the Committee would have us,” said Holtz.
Two candidates are up for the position of Utility Commissioner: Charles L. Measter and incumbent Leo Vancini. Though Measter could not be reached before this article went to print, Vancini pointed out that he has been with the Utility Commission since its inception. “[My] first major community involvement was my appointment to a ten member Utility Acquisition Feasibility Committee by the Mayor in 1994,” wrote Vancini. “From my professional background in investment banking, I played a key role in the evaluation of the Utility; structuring and negotiating the acquisition from Heater Of Seabrook, and the subsequent sourcing of $ 6.0 million by the Town to complete the acquisition.” Because of his past experience, Vancini was asked to complete the unexpired term of late Commissioner Robert Delaney in 2007. “My unique background and exposure to the Commission and the Utility qualifies me to continue to serve in the above mentioned capacity for another term,” Vancini stated.
Town Council candidates include Terrence J. Ahern, incumbent G.Jerry Cummin, Frank J. Farfone, Henry W. Hobson III, Samuel L. Reed and incumbent Robert M. Savin. Incumbent Cummin is very clear about his platform. “I have experience, “he said. “From 2004 to 2008, I served on the External Affairs Committee and was the chair of that Committee from 2007 to 2008. I served on the Planning Commission in 2009 and I have worked with the Mayor and Council on updating the emergency planning for the island.” A project which, he noted, is quite complicated and involves a lot of extra work hours. “I hope to continue working on it if reelected,” said Cummin. His long term goals include maintaining in the strong financial position of the Town and supporting improvements to the Johns Island roads, a process which he as been an active part of for the last few years. As for the future of the Town, “I am always looking for ways to improve life for everyone on Seabrook Island,” said Cummin. “Anything we [the Council] do, we do for all of the citizens.”
Candidate Frank Farfone sees Seabrook Island as being “on the brink of a new era, with state-of-the-art amenities and an economy that is showing signs of recovery.” Farfone believes that this calls for a new approach to the Town’s relationship with the community-at-large. “I would hope to make an impact on our community by working to bring a cooperative effort with major entities on our island, the POA and the Club,” Farfone writes. And that cooperative effort extends to improving relationships with Charleston County and other governmental bodies. Farfone believes his past experience in U.S. and international policy making, as well as his time at the White House, make him uniquely qualified to serve on the Town Council.
Candidate Henry Hobson believes he could be an assent to the Town Council, bringing with him past experience as a Councilman for a small community in a suburb of Houston, Texas. “As a politically conservative individual, and one who has had experience in the world of finance as a banker while in the working population, I bring a certain amount of knowledge and experience to the table,” Hobson writes. He feels that, as an active part of the Town government, he could assist in the improvement of the quality of life on Seabrook, particularly through finding the answers to questions such as the expansion of bike paths, emergency weather warning systems and the preservation of the natural resources of the island’s beaches and waterways.
“I’m running because my wife and I are very happy with Seabrook Island and we love living here,” said candidate Samuel Reed. In fact, Reed has a long standing interest in government, going back to his service as an elected representative on the school board in Indiana. He currently serves as the president of the Property Owner’s Association on Seabrook. “My primary interest is for the Town, property owners and the Club to work in a cooperative way and to work with elected officials in neighboring areas,” said Reed. By working with local communities, as well as the City and County of Charleston, Reed hopes to help as any people as he possibly can. “Cooperation is my long term goal,” he said, “as well as to maintain the Town’s fiscal responsibility.”
Neither Councilman Robert Savin nor Terrence Ahern could be reached before publication deadline. Please look for updated commentary in the next issue of The Island Connection. Seabrook Island elections will be held on November 3, 2009.