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County Council, January 6

Summey elected Chairman of County Council
Rawl to Vice-Chair

Warwick Jones

It was the first meeting of the year. Council members gathered for photographs and swearing-in of newly elected officers. They liberally distributed greetings, hugs and bonhomie amongst themselves and well-wishers. After the half-hour joy fest, the photographs, and the administration of the oaths of office, the Finance Committee quickly worked through its limited agenda. But it would be another half an hour before the real business that had summoned us this night began – the election of the Chair and Vice - Chair.

As the media has broadcast the election result, most know that Council member Summey was elected Chair and Council member Rawl, Vice Chair. Theirs were seemingly easy victories. We suspect there was much more than apparent last night. The surprise was the decision of Chairman Pryor to not seek re-election. He graciously said it was time for another to take a turn. His decision probably made it easier for some Council members who otherwise felt compelled to support him out of loyalty.

The final vote for Chair narrowed to either Council member Sass or Summey. Interestingly, three of the four ostensible Republicans voted for Sass. The other, Council member Summey, and the Democrats, voted for Council member Summey. Council member Summey clearly won, 6/3.

The vote for the Vice Chair was also fairly straightforward. Council member Rawl was pitted against Council member Condon and won with a 6/3 vote. The Council members that supported Council member Condon were Summey, Pryor and Condon.

Over the last year and indeed before, there has often been rancor between members, and often more than you would expect from an experienced body of legislators. But if Council members had any ill feelings, they were hidden last night. Many expressed wishes to work together for the betterment of the County.

Council Member Darby spoke glowingly of the outgoing Chair’s accomplishments and Chairman Summey also praised him as a good leader.

Chairman Summey has served on County Council for some 6 years and for 5 of those years as Vice Chair. He has political wisdom beyond his 37 years of age, at least partly reflecting the benefits flowing from the family into which he was born and its long involvement in local politics. His father, Keith Summey, is Mayor of North Charleston and also served on County Council. Like the outgoing Chair, Chairman Summey has lots of energy. But unlike the outgoing Chair, he has "youth" on his side. This brings many advantages but can often be accompanied by impetuosity, vanity, and arrogance.

We wish Chairman Summey well and expect he will successfully lead the County government for many years.

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