The Quiet Commission
Challenger Owens joins first-term candidate McMillan, veterans Platt, Waring on JIPSD ballot
By Charlie Morrison
For the past half-century, the James Island Public Service District (JIPSD) has gone about the business managing James Island’s fire departments, as well as its wastewater and solid waste removal programs with little fanfare. As James Island’s quietest, least controversial service provider, the body and the seven publicly-elected Commissioners who manage it are often ignored by even James Island’s politically savvy voting community come election time. The organization’s relative anonymity belies its importance, however, as the publicly-elected JIPSD Commissioners and the decisions they make affect the quality of life on the island in subtle, yet meaningful ways. This year, the island will select Commissioners for three active seats on the Commission, and with four individuals running, it’s a real race.
Challenger Alicia H. Owens joins first-term Commissioner Carter McMillan along with veteran Commissioners Eugene Platt and June Waring on the 2012 ballot. The four are vying for three at-large seats on the seven-member Commission that manages the JIPSD. While McMillan, Platt and Waring will be forefront in this race, fellow Commissioners Inez Brown-Crouch, Donald Hollingsworth, Rod Welch and David Engelman (chair), won’t see their current terms come to a close for two more years.
The JIPSD hold elections every two years, with the Commission having staggered terms to provide for the possibility of new blood to be elected to the Commission every twenty-four months while also providing for stability without the risk of a complete, one-election turnover. JIPSD Commissioners are elected on a non-partisan basis utilizing an at-large system for determining election winners in which the three top vote getters will be selected for seats on the body, each seat coming with a four-year term.
With over 100 full-time employees, the JIPSD provides fire, wastewater and solid waste services to approximately 24,000 James Island residents. For more information, see the JIPSD’s website at www.jipsd.org.