January 27, 2006


January 24th, 2006: Tommy Rivers, a decorated Police Officer, shared insights into the GANG DVD we recently heard about on the news. Rivers grew up in Charleston, worked on Team One, the Fugitive Taskforce Operation, and has been Policeman of the Year.

When the gang DVD was recovered in a traffic stop, its content was a shock to police around the area. The organization that recovered it at a routine traffic stop realized its importance and called a meeting of the areas key police representatives and showed the DVD. Being familiar with gangs in the area Rivers knew 19 of the individuals in the DVD.

Tommy Rivers gave us an opportunity to view portions of the gang DVD that showed a side of the Holy City that most of us are unfamiliar with. Rivers pointed out the automatic weapons, the drug materials being used, and even the individuals who have been killed or have been charged with serious crime including murder since the DVD was made. The individuals who made the video said the guns and drugs were fake and only props used to make a rap video audition tape. However, others verified the video to be factual.

As a result of finding this video, the need to respond, and Rivers' knowledge of gang members, he was placed in charge of the investigation. He has since identified a total of 25 of the people on the video and aggressively pursued search warrants and active investigations to get as many as possible off the street. While they've been aggressively pursuing gang members to subdue violence, according to Rivers, those in the video were not afraid to use guns on rival gang members, drug dealers, or even civilians. He has excellent rapport with the community because he really exhibits a real desire to find the way to save the kids from this environment.

As to the real cause of our gang problem, he indicated the environment is caused by little or no parental leadership. The pre-teen children, who are out on the street, must make difficult choices. He said these kids are "good at heart," but they live in a tough environment and often make bad choices.

Rivers indicated the difficulty of making charges stick; even when you know the drugs belong to the individual. It is a problem also getting bail denied; even for those charged with violent crimes and significant drugs possession.

When a member asked what we can do, he said "The community needs to support the police by helping them have a bigger budgets to do what they do and provide the support the police need to take the actions that are necessary." He indicated that problems will only continue to get more difficult unless we, as a community, can take positive action.

By Wayne Outlaw, Keyway Committee

January 22, 2006

Basketball and SoCon Tournament

January 17th, 2006: Bobby Cremins shared his insight on NCAA basketball and especially the Southern Conference Tournament. The former Georgia Tech head coach, and now a commentator for FOX Sports gave us some of the color and an interesting analysis of the state of local basketball and the Conference. His long time friend, fellow former coach, and Citadel Athletic Director Les Robinson set the stage for this interesting and news worthy presentation.

This program was particularly timely because the nation's oldest collegiate post-season tournament is now a tradition for us in Charleston. On March 2nd to 5th, 2006 the Southern Conference Championship will return to the North Charleston Coliseum and McAlister Field house.

To highlight the history and tradition, on our tables we were treated to a photo of the University of North Carolina team that won the Southern Conference Tournament in 1924 and went on to capture the NCAA National Championship. We are extremely lucky in Charleston to have great tournament which showcases great talent and allows us to enjoy seeing the exciting basketball games.

Bobby Cremins not only gave us the current state of the top NCAA, SoCon, and State teams, he also gave interesting insights into his past. In 1975 as an Assistant Coach at University of South Carolina and he got a call to discuss being a head coach of Appalachian State. As a New York native and not being very familiar with the school, he had only two questions. The questions, "Are your division 1 school?" and 2) "are you in the South?" He became the Appalachian State's Head Coach, was the youngest Head Coach in the US and also won the SoCon Championship.

What is under-recognized and under-appreciated is the SoCon Tournament is for both the men and women's basketball championship. Last year, the new Head Coach of UT, Chattanooga Women's Program won the tournament and got a chance to go to the first round of the NCAA. By hosting the Tournament, we get a great opportunity to see the drama and excitement of the first step to the final four and according to Cremins it is "as good of a sporting event as there is in the world."

With the Tournament in town, we have an opportunity this year to witness a special moment for someone. Support the SoCon Tournament and have some fun!

By Wayne Outlaw, Keyway Committee

January 12, 2006

Dr. Mark Hartley Presents Findings
Charleston County Management, Accountability and Performance Commission

January 10, 2006 - Dr. Mark Hartley is an Associate Professor in of the College of Charleston's Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management. He addressed today's Rotary to summarize the results of the work of the MAP commission which was created by the Charleston County Council in January 2004. The commission was modeled after a state-wide initiative formed by Governor Mark Sanford. The commission was charged with the responsibility for examining the processes, procedures, structure, performance, and systems under which our county government operates and then to make recommendations about ways "to improve efficiency, effectiveness, resource management, and responsiveness in the community." (MAP final report, p. 17). Dr. Hartley had served as a representative on the state commission and served as chairman of the Charleston commission.

The bi-partisan group consisted of 12 members, 9 of which were chosen each by a member on county council with four "at-large" members. Dr. Hartley made it clear that the commission's work was not to find problems or point fingers. Rather, it's intent was to conduct a methodical and precise assessment of facts and information and determine what is being done well and what could be improved upon.

Information was gathered from a variety of resources. The commission elicited information from the administration, department heads, staff and employees and through a survey of citizens. The commission also looked at best practices in business as well as local governments. They divided their work into seven task forces, each focusing on one government sector: Government Organization and Structure, Human Resources, Public Safety, Transportation/Public Works, Budgeting, Finance & Accounting, Procurement, Outsourcing, and Privatization, and Facilities & Capital Asset Management.

The commission came up with 6-12 recommendations within each section and the report in it's entirety can be found at the Charleston Country web site. Undoubtedly, everyone can find numerous suggestions they might heartily support.

A very small sample of the kind of suggestions and recommendations that characterize the 12-member commission's report are provided below-one for each of the seven sectors:
1. The position of Chairman of County Council should be decided by vote of countywide citizenry.
2. The commission suggests that a merit pay system, comprehensive talent management program and recruiting of a more diverse workforce would do much to address the workforce needs facing the county.
3. There should be greater cooperation and collaboration between the public safety agencies as a means of reducing the number of overlaps and duplicated work which currently exist between Charleston county and other taxing entities and/or municipalities.
4. Fleet operations in transportation might benefit from becoming accredited and joining the South Carolina Commercial Vendor Repair Program and that the transportation sales tax should be used to support road and drainage projects.
5. The commission called for reform of the budget process.
6. Streamline the procurement process and wit one purpose being to make it easier for minority-owned businesses to access opportunities to do business with the county.

This report can be accessed by going to www.charlestoncounty.org. Click on "what's new" on the home page and then scroll down to the bottom entry, "Charleston Country MAP Commission Final Report".

Submitted by Helen R. Harloe, Keyway Committee

January 6, 2006

Bobby Harrell, Speaker of the House

January 3, 2005 - Representative Bobby Harrell opened the first meeting of the new year by telling Rotarians that the legislative priorities of 2006 would most likely be very similar to that of 2005-to continue the focus on economic development and job creation in South Carolina because success at both will be critical to the long term growth and continued health of our state. With that, Speaker Harrell gave us a look back at the year as well as a look forward.

In 2005, nine pieces of legislation were passed which affected the creation of jobs, established tort reform, and provided tax incentives to encourage business growth. The most recent efforts to encourage new job growth targeted small businesses, the largest representative group of potential employers in the state. Tax incentives devoted to encouraging business use of the Port, to promote the motion picture industry in South Carolina, and encourage potential partnerships between private business and university research were all areas of legislative success in 2005 .

While most Charlestonians might consider property tax reform the most critical issue on the slate for 2006, the overall emphasis will most likely remain on economic development. The Speaker talked about a three pronged approach for creating jobs and growing income within South Carolina. First, the focus of attention will be on finding ways to support and encourage small businesses in order to enhance this particular economic base. Whatever is good for small business owners will have a ripple effect across the state. The second approach is to support the Department of Commerce in their efforts to bring new industries and jobs to South Carolina. The DOC needed additional resources if they are to ratchet up their efforts to a significant degree. Finally, a concerted effort must be made to assess and determine what existing and established businesses here in South Carolina currently needs so we can provide them the resources and support they must have to grow and flourish.

Another critical issue facing the legislature in 2006 is the subject of workers compensation. Workers comp premiums have risen dramatically and are having significant impact on businesses in this state and will only worsen if not soon addressed.

Speaker Harrell concluded his most interesting and informative remarks by introducing a topic that he feels we should all be aware. Mr. Harrell calls this subject "a sleeper issue" and admitted he is doing all he can to bring this issue to the forefront of public attention because, in his opinion, this will be one of the most critical issues South Carolinians will face in the next few decades. The subject is Medicaid. Currently, 19% of the general fund budget goes to Medicaid. It is predicted that in 10 years that will rise to 30%. In 20 years, it could be as much as half of the budget. According to Bobby, discussion of potential ramifications of these burgeoning costs must begin now in order for this South Carolina to start planning and preparing to do what must be done to offset the fallout from these shifting costs.

Submitted by Helen R. Harloe, Keyway Committee