Office: Beaufort City Council
Number of years living in the district you seek to represent: Seven years (six-plus years in the 1980s, returned to Beaufort on Jan. 31, 2014, after retiring).
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Family: Wife, Amèlie Aimar Cromer; grown children, Fripp Cromer Langford and Barnwell VanderHorst Cromer
Education: B.A., University of South Carolina; Master of Public Administration, College of Charleston/University of South Carolina; associate in risk management - Public Entity, The Insurance Institute of America
Current occupation/employer: Retired
Employment, military and volunteer history: Risk and safety services consultant, Municipal Association of South Carolina, Columbia, SC (1990-2014); town manager, town of Port Royal (1988-1990); town administrator, town of Ridgeland (1987-1988); economic and community development coordinator, Lowcountry Council of Governments, Point South (1986-1987); steamship agent, Maersk Line Agency, Savannah, and Miami (1982-1986); regional energy coordinator, Lowcountry Council of Governments, Point South (1980-1982); U.S. Army (1974-1977); U.S. Army Reserves, (1977- 2003); Beaufort History Museum (2014)
Public offices held: None
Unsuccessful bids for public office: None
Other prior political and government experience: None
Key endorsements you've received: Joyce and Richard Gray; Beth and Gene Grace; Becky and Neil Trask; Polly and Carter Swenson; John Trask III; Edward Dukes; Terry and David Murray; Edie Rodgers; Pete Palmer; Merritt Patterson; Mike Sutton; Peggy and Bo Mohr; Cathy and Russ Diller; Jeanne Aimar; Liz and Art Namerow
Campaign contributions: $5,049
Campaign expenditures: $2,416.12
Biggest contributor: Gene W. Grace, Neil W. Trask Jr., Conway Ivy, Arthur J Namerow; $500 each.
Why should people vote for you?
Because I know city government having spent most of my career working with cities and towns. What separates me from the other candidates is the intimate knowledge and experience I have in the technical side of city operations. My risk-management expertise will be of tremendous value in identifying and mitigating the city's existing and potential liability exposures.
What are the three most important issues you would address if elected?
1. Transparency - An open and responsive government is the key to earning the public trust. How? First, by engaging the citizenry as a partner in the governing process through participation in the development of goals, initiatives and assessment of program impacts. Second, providing the public unencumbered access to information. One way to do this is improving the navigation and information (real time) on the city's website. Other ways of improving transparency are training officials and staff on FOIA and limiting the number of executive sessions.
2. Fiscal responsibility - Recent undertakings by the city (purchase of the failed industrial park, the over-budget Boundary Street Project, including surcharge to city utility users), and costly contracts with outside consultants call into question its fiscal priorities. This added debt comes at a time when, according to the city manager, revenues have been declining. More importantly, infrastructure needs (drainage, street/sidewalk, and parking) received little attention. Public input on project priorities, cost-benefit analyses, and sound financial management are a must. A complete analysis of the city's current and projected financial condition is a start.
2. Improving the business climate - Studies show a leakage of consumer dollars out of Beaufort to other markets. The city, Chambers of Commerce, and Main Street need to work in concert to improve the business climate not just downtown but throughout the city. The current permitting process and attendant regulations need to be reviewed and streamlined to make the city more business-friendly. Parking and other infrastructure improvements need to be addressed. Small business incubators should be promoted and supported.
What other issues do you see as important?
Infrastructure is essential to the vitality of any community and, if not maintained, will become an expensive burden. Parking, stormwater drainage, street and sidewalk issues top the list. Tackling the infrastructure issues will require intergovernmental cooperation, review of funding options and sources, and effective leadership.
Intergovernmental cooperation is key in addressing needs locally and regionally. A recent study for the Lowcountry Economic Alliance revealed a perceived lack of cooperation among local governments and an unwillingness of their representatives to set aside their differences or think beyond their own borders. Survey also ranked government and political leadership in the region as a main weakness. This has to change.
What specific steps will you take to make government more open and accessible to the public?
Engage and partner with the citizenry in the governing process (not just view them as consumers of public services). Specifically, I would take the following steps:
Have you ever been convicted of a felony, been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you?
Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.
Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?
I am a native of Charleston and have an interest in history and genealogy. Currently, I am a member of the Historic Beaufort Foundation, Beaufort History Museum and the S.C. Historical Society. During my career I served on the S.C. Law Enforcement Accreditation Council, S.C. Occupational Safety Council, and the S.C. Public Risk Management Association. Honors and awards received are the Distinguished Service Award (SCOSC), 2009 Risk Professional of the Year (SCPRIMA), and the Southeast Loss Control Group Distinguished Service Award.