In a tight election race, Sullivan's Island residents re-elected Mike Perkis and elected political newcomer Chauncey Clark to town council. Perkis had previously served on council and was voted unanimously by his peers to the mayor pro tem position. He took the next step May 7 and became mayor of the town.
The municipal election also re-elected Pat O'Neil and welcomed Susan Middaugh to council. The Moultrie News sent them all of them eight different questions to be completed in question-and-answer format. Answers were only edited for grammar. O'Neil's and Middaugh's responses were published last week. Perkis' and Clark's answers follow.
Moultrie News: What is your background prior to being elected to town council?
Mike Perkis: I spent the last 20 years of my business career as vice president for Materials Management/Procurement for Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated. My department was responsible for the annual purchasing of over $500 million. It was an extremely critical responsibilty in a very competitive business environment where every decision had substantial impact to the overall health of the company.
Chauncey Clark: After my degrees in the US Army, BS and MBA, I worked in project management for a hospital firm, then on to establish my own PM company. For 30 years, we were involved with numerous projects that included airports, large hotels and hospitals.
MN: Why did you decide to run for office?
MP: I ran for mayor to complete the major projects that are in progress, while also working to unite our residents. I want to provide leadership for the completion of the new Sullivan's Island Elementary School building and the management plan for the important accreted areas on front beach. I will work on funding options that optimize the low interest rates for the building of the new town hall facility and enhancements to our water/sewer system.
CC: On the planning commission, I enjoyed the work and the fellowship involved with the needs of the town. The council is the next logical step in that process.
MN: What is the biggest accomplishment of Sullivan's Island Town Council in recent history?
MP: This council identified many challenges that needed to be addressed. While several were controversial, the council did not shirk its responsibility. We fought for the rebuilding of an elementary school in our community. We had the foresight to identify several historic needs within the water and sewer operation and developed programs to address them. We also put two parcels of green space under protection with the Mount Pleasant Land Conservancy, and we started the first steps for the management of the front beach accreted areas.
CC: The replacement of the school buildings to establish a long-term, first-rate school on the island.
MN: Have there been any oversights from town council members in recent history?
MP: In hindsight, there are always things we could have done better. However, on balance this council performed very admirably in the face of several contenious issues. We do need to work harder to develop better communications tools, so our constituents have easier access to what's happening and can easily become more engaged in all the important discussions.
The rebuilding of a new town hall will give us the opportunity to install modern equipment, providing easier access for timely information for our residents and more efficient information flow for council and the staff.
CC: No matter how the town processes information, the message gets muddled. The town web site does a good job of defining the meeting schedules and agendas. The best way to know what is going on is to attend meetings and get involved.
MN: What are your top three priorities while on council?
MP: I wish there were only three important projects. This council will have their hands full rebuilding community dialogue to unite residents. We also have to develop a financially responsible plan to fund our major capital project.
We also need to complete the management plan for the front beach accreted areas, build a new town hall, continue our efforts to address historic issues within our water/sewer operation and examine how we can minimize the impact of the increasing number of vistors. Clearly, we have a full plate and look for all the help we can get from interested residents.
CC: (1) Complete the school building project. (2) Complete the city hall project. (3) Complete the sewer repair project. All projects need a beginning and end target date and magic in the middle to make it happen on time and under budget.
MN: What is your favorite thing to do on the island?
MP: Every morning, I walk my dogs on the beach and realize how blessed I am to live in this wonderful place. Every early morning walk, rain or shine, is a reaffirmation on why we live here, and why I have committed myself to work hard for this community.
CC: Ride my bike on the beach and watch the setting sun play on the sea grasses on the dunes and the white waves on the ocean.
MN: We all know Sullivan's Island is home to some fantastic restaurants. What's your favorite?
MP: After eight years on council, I learned not to pick a favorite anything. All our restaurants, in their own way, are fantastic.
CC: We are lucky to have a great variety of restaurants on the island. The best depends on your attitude at that moment.
MN: What's something that people may not know about you?
MP: I went to college at the University of Buffalo on a swimming scholarship and was a four-year letterman.
CC: As Jimmy Buffett says: “If you can fly, cook or play a guitar life is good. Two out of three ain't bad.”