The Commission’s New Man
Engelman brings fresh face, agenda to Chair of JIPSD
By Charlie Morrison
The Town of James Island’s fourth incorporation and this week’s elections have stolen headlines around the island of late, but the other commission exclusively serving James Island, the James Island Public Service District (JIPSD) has also undergone a recent change in leadership. As per a motion in a recent Commission meeting, David Engelman was recently appointed Chair of the JIPSD, with first-term Commissioner Carter McMillan being appointed Vice-Chair. Out is long-time Chair Donald Hollingsworth. The 20-year JIPSD Commissioner will serve the remainder of this term out as a regular member of the JIPSD.
Engelman, elected as an at-large Commissioner in 2010, will serve as the head of the JIPSD, a body that serves a population of more than 21,000 on James Island and has an annual budget exceeding $11 million, for one year. And with three of his 26 scheduled meetings as head already up, he’s moving along with his agenda at a brisk pace. His first goal is to reward the more than 100 JIPSD employees that he credits for the Commission’s reputation of professionalism.
“I feel like our employees work very hard, and go above and beyond doing thing people don’t even know about,” says Engelman. “I’ve talked to several of our employees, they honest to God love their jobs, they love their people, they love this island, and for that, I’m trying to get them a 2 percent increase in their base pay.”
And while he’s quick to credit the extensive JIPSD staff for their work, Engelman does believe some responsibility for the work the JIPSD does, namely keeping the island clean, lies with James Islanders themselves. “It comes down to the old cliché, ‘clean up your own back yard.’ We think we’ve got such a beautiful island, we live on a filthy island. There is garbage all over here,” says Engelman.
And while Engelman’s plans for the next few months are clear, so are, he feels, his long-term agenda for the Commission. “I think we should get together with some land the JIPSD holds, and build a facility, now this is way out there in the future and I won’t be around when it happens but I want to prepare the foundational work for us to come together as a Town, as a JIPSD, and possibly even the sub-station for the County Police, and have a place some shared space,” says Engelman.
“My vision is that we work together, come together and have a place that has some shared space, some individual space, and maybe even a small park. I’m hesitant to actually do anything before (the Town) gets their Mayor, Council, and boards in place but I’m sitting on ready to go and we’ve got a consultant working on some acreage that the JIPSD has in its possession that we can have a shared space,” says Engelman. We are a separate legal entity from the Town, so working together is kind of a voluntary thing, and I’m sure there are people on the Commission who don’t want to work with the Town, I simply want to work with everybody.”
And while Engelman’s spirit of goodwill extends beyond the borders of the JIPSD, he reserves a special amount of it for his colleagues at the Commission. “I’ve worked with a lot of boards over my life, in the Federal government, Charleston County School Board, and now the JIPSD, even the Board of Trustees with my church, but this is the best board I’ve ever worked with,” he says. “Their ladies and gentlemen, and I’m not saying they don’t get angry sometimes, who do their job, and I’m very, very proud to be a part of it.”