WRONG!! New Aviation Authority CEO, Elliott Summey

By Beverly Gadson-Birch

As we celebrate Black History this month, generally my focus is on black achievements and the forward path of blacks in America. Blacks spend billions of dollars in America and is underrepresented in every aspect when it comes to building wealth.

It would be remiss of me if I did not address the appointment of Elliott Summey, son of North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, as CEO of Charleston County Aviation Authority. Elliott Summey’s appointment as CEO comes with a $290,000 salary, $18,000 car expenses and benefits. Summey’s appointment came shortly after a recent article I did on “privileged” whites. And, this is a clear-cut case of what “privileged” white looks like in America. Unlike underprivileged blacks who must exceed expectations, “white privilege” doesn’t have to have education or experience in the field he/she is seeking employment and doesn’t have to play by the rules. Summey’s election is as wrong as two left shoes. Yet you, yes you, sit back and allow more of the same. If it wasn’t made clear to you during the recent mayoral election in North Charleston, it should be clear now why it was so important that Mayor Summey retained his Mayor and his sea on the Aviation Board. Wake up folks!

Are y’all “WOKE” yet?

Although I am both disappointed and dismayed by the process, or should I say lack of process, that landed the inexperienced Summey the position, I am more disturbed by those handpicked appointed members whose vote sealed the deal. Jerome Heyward, a recently elected black member of North Charleston City Council, was among those voting yes for Summey. Elliott Summey, Chair of County Council, was instrumental in Heyward’s appointment to the Aviation Board. Vic Rawl, a North Charleston County Councilmember, chosen by Elliott Summey to represent him on the Aviation Board and to vote in his stead, made the motion to elect Summey as CEO to replace Paul Campbell, the outgoing CEO. It’s interesting to note that Campbell is willing to stay on to help train Summey. Well now, for a salary over $300,000, you shouldn’t need too much training.

This was not the first time a Summey’s appointment/election came under fire. In 2012, Mayor Summey’s wife, Debbie Summey, retired leaving a vacant seat. Upon her retirement, Mayor Summey suggested his daughter, Joanna Summey-Fuller, to the Senate Delegation to fill his wife’s unexpired term. Summey-Fuller’s name was the only name considered for the position. The Delegation voted her in. Former Senator Robert Ford who voted for Summey-Fuller later admitted he made a mistake and that others should have been considered for the position. As of today, Summey’s daughter still serves as a magistrate in North Charleston.

Here’s the problem that I have with all the hand-pickin’, chicken lickin’ appointments. The Summey family has all the controlling powers possible in North Charleston—Mayor, Magistrate, County Council, City Council, Commerce Park development, Real Estate Market and CEO of Charleston County Aviation Authority. What’s next? Don’t be surprised if North Charleston’s name changes to Summey Town or Charleston County Aviation Authority becomes Summey Fly and Go Aviation Authority.

With all of the corrupt politics in high places, where are our Black leaders? So, y’all alright sleeping at night? For y’all black elected officials who have turned your backs on the black community, shame on you. The reason black communities have not is because you have chosen a path for yourself and not for the people you swore to represent. Have you forgotten that the hands of those who once picked cotton, picked you? And, you were not picked to serve yourself; you were picked to serve others. If voting your conscious means standing alone, then stand alone. When you vote contrary to that which is right, you have no conscious! Simply put, Do the right thing! Do your job!!

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