By Ruben Lowman
Councilman Bob Cavanaugh has served the city of North Myrtle Beach for the last time and will resign and move to Virginia in order to be closer to his family.
Cavanaugh made the decision a few months ago to give up the seat he has held on the council for nearly 20 years so he can spend more time with his wife, children and the rest of his family in Richmond, but was waiting until he was able to line up a buyer for his home in the Tidewater community before he made the move.
Mayor Marilyn Hatley took the opportunity to honor Cavanaugh at his last council meeting earlier this month and acknowledged the lasting impact his efforts have had on the development and growth of the city.
“You have been a wonderful councilperson,” Hatley said. “You have been good to all of the city just like a councilperson-at-large should be. You have showed that you care for the end of this city to the other. You have worked diligently to move the city agenda forward, to have forward thinking so that we could become a better and better community every year.”
She also expressed her gratitude for the role Cavanaugh has played in her life, both personally and professionally, helping to guide her along the way during their time working together on a myriad of different topics.
“I appreciate you for being a mentor to me and I appreciate you more than you will ever know,” Hatley said. “I wish you the best in your new endeavor and godspeed to you and to Mary.”
After the mayor’s kind words of admiration, Councilman Cavanaugh reciprocated the appreciation he has for Hatley, explaining the integral role she has played in his political career here at the beach after retiring from General Electric.
“I’d like to thank you, Mayor Marilyn Hatley, for a lot of things,” Cavanaugh said. “I came down to North Myrtle Beach 22 years ago, retiring after 35 years at G.E. not sure what the hell I was gonna do. And you volunteered me for the Keep North Myrtle Beach Keep America Beautiful, then you told me there was an opening on council. And it’s been a pleasure working with you and all the councilman over the 20 years.”
Councilman Cavanaugh was instrumental in overseeing the change that has occurred in North Myrtle Beach since he was first elected to the council in 2001. During his nearly 20 years serving the city he has helped to see through the development of major projects such as the Aquatic & Fitness Center and the Park & Sports Complex, which have been been very successful steps to turning the city into a sports tourism destination. His detail-oriented and inclusive working style is what he will be best remembered for, and will be truly missed by city officials.
“Councilman Cavanaugh will be missed by all of us in city government,” said city spokesperson Pat Dowling. “When it comes to making decisions as a councilman, he draws on his significant business experience, analyzing proposed ordinances, researching the subject matters they included, and then helping to refine them, which often results in an improved legislative focus.”
“Councilman Cavanaugh is also a social person with a wide network of friends and acquaintances,” Dowling continued. “As is true of all of our council members, he is good at listening to people in the community, introduces new ideas, challenges old ones, always with the goal of making North Myrtle Beach a better place in which to live, work and recreate.”
Dowling explained that one aspect of Cavanaugh’s particular focus was helping the city to improve how it communicates with residents, business owners and tourists. Most recently, visitors to the city’s newly-overhauled website will have the councilman to thank for the modernized look and more interactive layout.
“For example, over the past year or more he emerged as the primary advocate for the city to overhaul its main website, making it more user friendly and offering more online services,” Dowling said. “The mayor and council have been supportive of his urgings in this regard, and, users should enjoy a more simplified online experience where they can find what they want without having to jump through hoops. Users will also be able to personalize their website experience.”
Throughout Cavanaugh’s tenure as an elected representative in North Myrtle Beach he has worked with several different iterations of the council and he is proud of the many achievements they have been able to accomplish. He cited the unity and effective communication of the council as the biggest contributors to their success.
“This is a group that uniformly is truly interested in serving the people,” Cavanaugh said. “And it was an extreme pleasure working with all of you and especially the current group. It’s really been very rewarding for me and I’m going to miss the activity, the interest, the sharing of a team that works together. And I want to congratulate you all and I hope that this actually continues.”
The long-serving councilman’s departure “will be something of a sea change for our local government,” said Dowling. “A new person will be elected to fill his at-large seat. That new person’s personality and ideas about how to continue to move North Myrtle Beach forward will have an impact on the other city council members, and there may be some adjustments as they learn how to work together to get things done.
“That’s not a bad thing,” Dowling continued. “We have lots of good people in this community who care about North Myrtle Beach and who want to contribute. Our past indicates that new perspectives tend to come along at the right time in our history.”
Dowling gave his best wishes to the departing councilman and his family. “We wish Councilman Cavanaugh and his wife, Mary, all the best as they move closer to family in Virginia.”
Cavanaugh left the city’s officials with words of gratitude and wisdom, in the hopes that they will continue to prioritize North Myrtle Beach and lead through effective and responsible governance.
“It’s important for this city that this team continues to work together for the benefit of the city as they have been doing. This is a transition, recently we saw a case where Myrtle Beach does things where they are running up debt again. We are very careful about fiscal responsibility and trying to do the right thing for our citizens. And I think it’s a point that I want to make that is known for anybody who runs for my seat or has any doubts that this council is dedicated to the people’s interests,” Cavanaugh concluded.