NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess has withdrawn from the running to become the Director of the S.C. Public Safety Department.
Burgess was nominated by Governor McMaster and was set to assume the new position in February.
In a letter sent from Burgess to Gov. McMaster, Burgess said that while he was honored and humbled by the nomination, “it has taken an emotional toll on [his] family.”
Burgess noted that his family has always supported him in his career, and in this case, he felt he must support them and place them first.
Gov. McMaster released the following statement in response to the withdrawal:
“Chief Burgess has dedicated his life to serving South Carolinians as a law enforcement officer and has an astounding body of work to show for it. Most importantly, he’s a great man who has proven he has the qualities that would have made him a transformational leader at the Department of Public Safety. That he is prioritizing his family over his nomination to lead the agency says all anyone needs to know about Chief Burgess, and I find great comfort in knowing that he’s not going far and will continue to serve our people through his leadership at the North Charleston Police Department.”
During a press conference on Friday, Chief Burgess noted he felt he did not have the opportunity to address everything he had to offer during the interview process.
In 2012 Burgess was informed by the IRS that he owed $31,000 in tax debt. He says that it was a mistake when he trusted a friend to do his taxes. Burgess says he owned it and had the debt fully paid off by 2018.
Burgess said he knew he would be questioned about the debt during the interview, but feels he was not given a fair chance to talk about the work he wanted to achieve in the new role because of it.
“The disappointment was… I was given the offer by the nomination and I wasn’t really afforded the opportunity to really carry it out,” said Burgess.
Mayor of North Charleston Keith Summey, who has a good working relationship with Chief Burgess, says he was not happy with how Burgess was treated during the interview process.
“Reggie has been a public servant for a long time. In this, he stepped into politics and it’s nasty. Politics is never nice. When you get into a political picture you’re going to get smashed every way you can and some people are not designed to take that,” said Summey.