Senator Glenn McConnell of Charleston wrote a letter to the Legislative Audit Council asking for an audit of Charleston’s Patriots Point. The historic museum, which recently borrowed $9 million to repair one of its warships, the USS Laffey, is still struggling financially. McConnell says Patriots Point has become overcome by its disabilities.
Patriots Point Executive Director Dick Trammell responded to McConnell’s letter.
I welcome the audit. There are a number of issues to be dealt with a Patriots Point. When you are looking at the maintenance of the ships, the development that could potentially take place here. And, I think the audit is welcomed here.
Trammell says they have already sent a letter to Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman mapping out the plan Patriots Point has to pay the $9 million back to the state. He says they need more assistance, beyond the Laffey.
When we borrowed the money our intent was to get assistance from our congressional delegation in repaying the money. And, unfortunately, the money was not included in the 2010 budget. So, we have been working closely with Congressman Clyburn’s office, and Senator Graham and Congressman Brown to try and get some assistance.
For the Laffey, Trammell says they would need more funding to bring it back to the docks at Patriots Point. McConnell says it would cost about $400,000. As for the audit, Trammell says he sees McConnell’s letter as hope for the Laffey, and other ships docked at the South Carolina landmark.
I don’t perceive the audit as a negative at all. I think anything that can help Patriots Point overcome a 35 year backlog of maintenance issues, and in some cases, personnel issues I think should be welcomed.
Trammell says the audit is more of a step forward.
As Senator McConnell said, if we have the audit, look at the organization, look at Patriots Point, our practices, policies, things of that nature, if we can make it better for the future. The bottom line is we are here to honor the men and women who have served, continue to serve, and will serve for future generations.
The Legislative Audit Council plans to review McConnell’s request by September.