No one understands Mount Pleasant’s growing pains better than former town administrator, Mac Burdette. Burdette arrived in Mount Pleasant in 1986, the third person to assume this position in five years. For the next twenty-five years, he was involved in the day-to-day operation of Mount Pleasant. The population, 23,000 when he got here, had triped by the time he retired.
Growth and change continue to be issues, and Burdette credits the genius of former town planner Joel Ford with the fact that “Mount Pleasant is overall a much better place to live, play, work and educate than it ever was before.” Despite its exploding population, Mount Pleasant still sees itself as a town. Burdette attributes a great deal of this sentiment to the fact that Mount Pleasant still has only one high school. That will soon change.
Burdette confessed that governing Mount Pleasant has not always been easy.
“(It) is one of the most difficult municipalities to govern in America, and that is good,” he said. “The residents are well educated, politically savvy and involved, and they have high standards.”
Mount Pleasant residents faced only three tax increases while Burdette was town administrator. The first tax hike, which was controversial, came in 1987 to fund the recreational facilities on Whipple Road. This year, voters will decide on another tax increase to fund a wide range of recreational programs and facilities.
Robert McPherson “Mac” Burdette hails from Simpsonville, SC. He graduated from Clemson with a bachelor’s and a master’s in History and a master of science in City and Regional Management. His dedication to Mount Pleasant is evident.
“I will always be indebted to the people of the town for allowing me to spend most of my career here so that my wife (Ann) and I could raise our children (Sarah-Butler and Ben) in a special place like this,” he commented.
Today, the Burdettes live “up north.” They are the northern-most residents of the town, on land he had annexed so that he could continue to live in Mount Pleasant. Currently he serves as executive director for Patriot’s Point and his passion is now for “those old gray ships.”
By Pam Gabriel.
Photo courtesy of Mac Burdette.