By Lauren Ratcliffe
Published Jan. 17, 2013
Charleston County Aviation Authority board Chairman Chip Limehouse is expected to nominate Charleston lawyer Andy Savage to become the next chairman of the authority’s board today.
Limehouse said he is making the nomination because of his upcoming run for the 1st Congressional District seat vacated by Sen. Tim Scott. Scott was appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley to fill a senatorial vacancy after Jim DeMint left his seat for a job with a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.
“I’m running for Congress and I have to help choose someone,” Limehouse said. “I’m going to put all my efforts into seeking the congressional seat.”
While the votes to elect the chairman have yet to be cast, Savage said he is prepared to lead the board in a new direction. He added that the aviation authority board would operate differently under his authority.
“I think there will be a lot more sunshine,” he said. “I think that is very important with the rise in importance of the airport to the community at large — particularly the business community — and we want to be open and transparent about what we do, how we do it and why we do it.”
Savage said changes to the board would involve better communication with the public, clearer descriptions of executive sessions and full adherence to the Freedom of Information Act.
“I want to make sure that we are acting in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, and I am not confident we’ve done that in the past,” he said.
On Sept. 4, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, who serves as a member on the board, said he believed the group was in violation of the law when Limehouse moved to have the Charleston airport’s director, Sue Stevens, report directly to himself. The matter was not listed on the meeting agenda and the vote was reversed in a special meeting two weeks later.
Savage said he believes the members of the authority are good people and he is excited to work with them on finishing the terminal redevelopment project and attracting new business.
“I think we are on the verge of great things,” he said. “We are focused now on the capital expansion; we are going to laser in on that and make sure that we get the best bang for the buck.”
As long as Limehouse remains a member of the state Legislature and chairman of the Charleston County Legislative Delegation, he will retain his seat on the board. He has said he will name a proxy to serve in his place through the spring as he focuses on his campaign.
The board meeting will be held today at 2 p.m.