NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Mayor Keith Summey has promised a seamless transition of power as the city’s former police chief prepares to take the helm as North Charleston’s first new mayor in nearly 30 years.
Reggie Burgess earned nearly 59% of the vote during Tuesday night’s municipal election. Not only will he become North Charleston’s fourth mayor, but he will also be the city’s first African-American mayor when he assumes the role in January.
“You are witnessing a historical moment here in North Charleston,” said outgoing Mayor Summey in a video posted to the city’s website. “I’m here to help him know where we’ve come from- because you’ve gotta know where you come from to know where you are going.”
While Summey said he will not be part of Burgess’s decision-making, he plans to help the former police chief be prepared for the job.
“I’m here to help him understand how we got here. Because if you know from whence you come, it’s easier to know where you need to go. That relationship, I think, is going to be a wonderful transition. After he is sworn in, the job will be completely his. But for the next two months, we’ll be working together so that he is completely prepared on day one to move the city forward,” Summey said.
Summey was first elected mayor in 1994 and announced in March 2023 that he would not seek reelection for an eight-term. He now plans to spend time with his growing family.
“It’s truly a blessing that I grew up here and saw all the things that North Charleston has to offer. As the mayor stated, we will have a smooth and orderly transition from this administration to continue the efforts to elevate the quality of life for our citizens,” said Burgess. “As the new mayor of the City of North Charleston- I’m an out-and-about mayor. I want to be able to meet folks where they are. I want to be able to feel and hear their counsel so that I will be able to lead and guide our department heads in the way that the citizens would expect us to. We will always be there for them. We will always listen to their concerns. And we’ll make sure we serve and protect them at all times. That is the job before me, and that is the job that I want to have.”
Burgess retired as North Charleston’s police chief after 34 years with the agency so that he could focus on his mayoral campaign.
Summey threw his support behind Burgess and his campaign. “I think most people know that I have a wonderful working relationship with my former police chief … I’ve watched him grow. You’ve got to have management skills and I think he had those management skills. I think he also has people skills. There are some other very good people running, but I will be voting for Reggie Burgess,” the longtime mayor told News 2 in August.
Burgess will be sworn into office in January.