Gilland to address future as Horry Co. chair

Councilmen Bob Grabowski and Howard Barnard
Councilmen Bob Grabowski and Howard Barnard

Horry County, SC - HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Chairwoman Liz Gilland will announce whether or not she will be defending her position as the county's top dog at a Tuesday evening Horry County Council meeting.

While the official filing period for the Horry County Council chairman position has not officially started, two candidates -- Councilmen Bob Grabowski and Howard Bernard -- have already thrown in their bids for the race. The early announcements left many, including Gilland herself, wondering if she'd attempt to extend her term.

Gilland has said in previous months she's a deeply religious person, and prayer will point her in the right direction.

"I am a very strong believer, and I know there is a path that I am supposed to walk, and usually I pray about it and decide this is where I'm being led," she explained.

The chairwoman, however, has come under much scrutiny in recent months after a controversy surrounding over $300,000 in South Carolina Ethics Commission fines and a warning ticket for speeding on Sept. 29, 2009. Gilland says she received the fines because of forms she did not submit to the Ethics Commission during her 2006 re-election campaign.

Disclosure contribution claims were not filed because Gilland says she did not receive any contributions during those time periods. The lack of contributions, she claims, caused her to be unaware she had to file a report.

Should Gilland renew her fight to stay at the top of Horry County politics, it won't be without a battle.

"I think it's so important that we need somebody who will look at the big picture. I think I can do that," said Grabowski. "I can look at the big picture and the long range plan and make decisions that will benefit the people of Horry County in the long run."

Grabowski represents District 6, which includes the Socastee area, and serves as chairman of the Public Safety Committee, while Barnard represents District 5, which includes Garden City and Surfside. He says his experience on many of the council committees gives him an edge.

"I think you have to ask who has the most experience," said Barnard. "On current council right now, I'm the only one that's served on infrastructure regulation, administration, as well as public safety."

Gilland is expected to announce her intention on running or sitting out on the 2010 race at the conclusion of Tuesday night's Horry County Council meeting.

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