“The tie vote leaves no wiggle room for Mr. Eldridge. He has lost more than the confidence of county council. Mr. Eldridge has lost the confidence of Horry County residents.”
In front of a packed county auditorium, Coastal Councilmen Gary Loftus, Tyler Servant, Harold Worley, and Bill Howard voted against firing County Administrator Chris Eldridge. The packed auditorium, however, clearly wanted County Administrator Eldridge fired.
Coastal cities, especially the city of Myrtle Beach, are still smarting from the defeat of former Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus last June. Many have been unwilling to accept his loss.
Meanwhile, current County Chairman Gardner now has the support of county voters west of the intracoastal waterway by a margin of more than four to one. Gardner won last June’s primary largely because of county voters who supported him three to one back then.
There are 323,000 Horry County residents. The city of Myrtle Beach stands at just over 28,000. The City of Myrtle Beach has the most residents among the three coastal cities. For decades, the City of Myrtle Beach ran the county. Residents voted last June to take the county back from coastal focused leader Mark Lazarus.
The arrogance County Administrator Eldridge demonstrated while being questioned by county-elected councilmen was palpable. Coastal-elected councilmen largely remained silent. Eldridge’s defiance, however, mirrored the very attitudes demonstrated previously by Lazarus himself.
The Arrogance Of Eldridge
The 6 to 6 tie vote, however, leaves Eldridge in a precarious position. A 50% approval rating from his employers is certainly not a vote of confidence.
Chairman Gardner stated honestly that he is unable to work with Eldridge. Gardner’s own humility aside, he is the elected County Council Chairman. Mr. Eldridge’s future horizons in Horry County appear as limited as his preferred boss, Mr. Lazarus.
Lazarus’ Legislation De-Funded By Coastal Cities
On the same night Mr. Eldridge’s fate was being determined, the city of Surfside Beach voted (7 – 0) to terminate funding to the very hospitality tax Lazarus extended and planned to use to fund I-73.
The 6 to 6 County Council tie vote leaves no wiggle room for Mr. Eldridge. He has lost much more than the confidence of county council. Mr. Eldridge has lost the confidence of Horry County residents.
Why? As this news outlet reported, it was Jim Wiles, Lazarus Campaign Manager who leaked the infamous memo to Will Folks of Fitsnews. Eldridge states clearly in his testimony yesterday, he only consulted Lazarus, Loftus, and Worley before calling in SLED.
Lazarus is the residue of the Coastal – County divide in which Chris Eldridge clearly took a side.