Charleston mayor gets 'right to work' after inauguration

John Tecklenburg  

After four decades under Mayor Joe Riley, Charleston, South Carolina swore in a new mayor, John Tecklenburg, last week.

In his inaugural speech, Tecklenburg addressed his initial challenges in office, including traffic, tourism, public safety, recreation, transparency and emergency preparedness.

Right after Mayor Tecklenburg was sworn in, “He went right to work,” Jack O’Toole, Tecklenburg’s spokesman, recently told Palmetto Business Daily. “He went straight to his office and signed his ethics pledge.”

O’Toole explained that Tecklenburg is asking all of his senior level appointees to sign an ethics pledge, which mandates that all senior government staff agree to not work for any company doing business with city government for at least one year after leaving office. The mayor, along with all senior appointed staff, are also required to release statements of economic interest annually that include their personal tax returns.

Tecklenburg then convened a meeting of all department heads and other relevant staff, including heads of Transportation, Legal and Finance, O’Toole said.

In his first official remarks as mayor, Tecklenburg said that he would start with working to finish Highway 526 between West Ashley to Johns and James islands.

O’Toole also explained that the new mayor wants to focus on “Beautification and retail redevelopment of West Ashley because it would revitalize the area, which is much needed. Many of the properties are worn down and need attention.”

Tourism is important to the economy, but “It is important for the mayor to make sure the people of Charleston are taken care of first.” O’Toole said.

O’Toole said that other obstacles Tecklenburg would like to tackle include building better relationships between law enforcement and citizens. He also wants to put a one-year freeze on new hotels in what he considers to be “overdevelopment” of that property type, which limits the ability for a variety of other businesses to step in and thrive.

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