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Alderman Mike Conran Takes Over As New Rock Hill Mayor

Conran will serve until April 2005 election

September 03, 2004
Rock Hill Board Member and Acting Mayor Edith Brown gladly handed over the mayor's gavel to fellow Board Member Mike Conran at a special meeting on Saturday.

Brown, 76, had been serving as acting mayor since Robert Salamone stepped down in early August due to a job transfer out of town. She has said that she didn't want the job of mayor.

The board unanimously voted to appoint Conran to the position until the April 2005 election. Conran was first elected to the board in 2001.

As Brown moved from the mayor's chair to her former place at the dais, she noted: "Thank goodness, it's all over. Time to move back home."

Conran, 46, has lived in Rock Hill about 10 years with his wife and four school-age children.

As an independent technology consultant, he said he has handled and worked on contracts as large as the city's budget.

He told the Times that his first step as mayor will be to get a grasp of the duties and responsibility of mayor.

"We've had some bumps. I want to smooth out some bumps," Conran noted.

"The reason I wanted to do this and why I accepted is we have an awful lot of development on the table and there needs to be a good transition for filling the mayor's shoes until April so we can bring this development to a successful conclusion.

Conran gave a brief synopsis of the status of the developments:

* Northwest and southwest corners of Manchester and McKnight roads. Conran said the TIF Commission has had two meetings on the proposed mixed-use project by Novus Development. The Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Commission should conclude by February 2005, he said. Conran noted that a professional consultant PGAV is working with the commission on the TIF and a Transportation Development District (TDD).

* Northwest corner of Manchester and Berry roads. Conran said a QuikTrip and small office building has been proposed.

"We're looking for a wonderful conclusion there," Conran told the Times. He said the board has given initial approval of the concept. The consultant PGAV is also working on this project. Before the board gives final approval, it must go through the planning and zoning commission and the city needs a development agreement, he noted. Under the city's comprehensive plan, the development area for this location is from Berry Road to the Dierbergs Market to Alden Lane, Conran said.

"It is the intent of the board not to form a peninsula of homes," Conran said, referring to the few homes located adjacent to Dierbergs.

* Northwest corner of Manchester Road and Kortwright. Conran told the Times that while the board hasn't been presented with a formal plan, Walgreen's is proposing building a new store at that intersection. The development would include only existing commercial properties, he said. More details are expected in a couple of weeks.

* Gerber Property. Conran the city is "chewing" on that property. "We'll probably have more news in the upcoming weeks."

"The darndest thing is that Mayor Bob (Salamone) was the instigator of all this good stuff," Conran said, referring to the proposed developments. "Yes, there were some bumpy issues, but there's an awful lot of good stuff.

"These developments, if all conclude successfully, will add a tremendous amount of revenue to the bottom line of Rock Hill," Conran said.

For now, Conran said his vision for the city is to provide the citizens with the best service at the lowest cost.

Fellow board members endorsed Conran as the city's new leader.

"We need someone who understands where we've been and the makeup of the board and the needs of the community," Board Member Sheri McCann said at the meeting. "Mike is level headed and the rest of the board is willing to work with him.

"It's time for the board to act as one cohesive unit," she added.

With Conran's appointment, his seat in Ward 3 is now vacant. Anyone interested in filling it until the April 2005 election is asked to contact Acting City Administrator Don Cary. Candidates will be considered at the Sept. 7 board meeting and a decision made on Sept. 21.

After Brown nominated Conran to be mayor, Mike Auxtinee, who lives on Pocahontas, told the board that he submitted a letter stating that he wanted to be considered for the position.

"I love this city and I want to help it grow," Auxtinee said. "I have the time to take care of this city."

He also criticized the board for lack of leadership and for already making a decision on a new mayor before anyone could speak.

The board unanimously voted to appoint Conran as mayor.

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