On January 9, 2014, the South Carolina Joint Transportation Review Committee met to screen possible candidates to serve on the SCDOT Commission’s 2nd, 4th, and 6th Districts.
The committee is chaired by Sen. Lawrence K. Grooms, and Rep. James H. Lucas is the Vice Chair. Others serving on this committee are Sen. Hugh K. Leatherman Sr., Sen. Harvey S. Peeler, Sen. Chauncey K. Gregory, Sen. Gerald Malloy, Rep. Deborah A. Long and Rep. Phillip D. Owens. Civilian members are Mr. Reid Banks, and Mr. Patterson Smith.
The meeting quickly went into Executive Session for the members of the Committee to discuss privately the candidates and the screening process. Following the executive session, the committee began screening candidates. Sen. Grooms said it was the duty of the Committee to screen for expertise, compassion, and professionalism for this commission. He then explained the procedure. Each candidate would be sworn in, asked a group of general questions to which they had already submitted answers, and the committee could ask more questions if they had them.
The first candidate, Mr. John N. Hardee of Columbia, is from the 2nd District and a former SCDOT Commissioner. He is currently a Director at Lamar Outdoor Advertising. As a former commissioner he had a well prepared opening statement. In his statement Hardee said he saw 6 areas were the SCDOT Commission needs to address: Maintenance, planning and paving, upgrade Interstates 85, 26, & 95, economic development (fund establishing), new ideas, securing more federal money and more transparency at the SCDOT.
The committee then asked Hardee the general questions dealing with conflict of interest, financial involvement, and background information. Afterwards, he was asked what he thought about ACT 114. Hardee said it was good for the department. A committee member asked what he would do if his job in outdoor advertising became an issue as a commission member. Hardee said if there was ever an issue he would recuse himself. He was asked about Public Transportation. He said he believed there should be some reform, but he does not think the state is ready nor needs a rail system. He thanked the committee for the opportunity and left the hearing.
The next two candidates screened were from the 4th District. First was Mr. George William Gramling of Campabello. After being sworn in, he told the Committee that his family dates back to the Indians in South Carolina, and that as a Veteran he felt he had served his country and now he wants to serve his state. Grambling answered the same general questions adding that his main priorities would be safety and economic development. He said he had worked “Boots on the Ground” helping pave roads, worked in Finance at Wachovia, and has been a business manager which he thinks makes him qualified for the position. Gramling was also asked about Public Transportation, and said it needed reform and he would have to educate himself on ways that this reform could take place.
The second candidate from the 4th District Mr. Woodrow W. Willard Jr. has worked in real estate appraisal as well as the permitting process for encroachment. He said he had clients that worked with the SCDOT, but in that he would recuse himself from the any appraisal clients that may be dealing with the SCDOT. Willard answered the same general questions, as well as questions about public transit.
The Joint Committee then interviewed the last candidate of the day, Mr. Samuel B. Glover of Orangeburg, the 6th district. Glover the former director of the Department of Pardon, Probation and Parole under Governor Sandford said he has expertise in the management and finance which would make him a good candidate for SCDOT Commissioner. Glover answered the same general questions, and then thanked the Committee for their time.
It should be noted that Mr. Chad G. Ingram of Aiken had originally planned on being screened, but withdrew his name the day of the hearing.
On January 13, 2014 the Joint Transportation Review Committee reported that the above mentioned candidates are all qualified to serve on the commission. These Candidates are now able to solicit votes and house and senate members may pledge their vote at this time. Legislators in these districts may meet to elect a commissioner to represent their district.