Political News

First council pay raise in 24 years

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During Monday night’s regularly scheduled County Council meeting, several employees received recognition.

Council Chairman Dwight Stewart and County Administrator David Epperson recognized Roxie Mitchum for ten years of service with the county. Mitchum was honored with a certificate and pin commemorating her dedication and hard work. 

Stewart and Santee Lynches COG Board of Directors presented Councilman D. Benton Blakley an award of appreciation for his twenty four years of service with the county. 

Lebron Joye was also recognized for his twenty four years of service as the Clarendon County Recreation Director.  Joye has also served 41 years as the Parks and Recreation Director. “It has been an honor and a joy,” said Joye. 

Council approved the 2023 Council Meetings schedule, 2023 Holidays Observance Schedule, and the Budget Schedule for the fiscal year of 2023/2024 with the addition of a special called meeting in April that will include a budget workshop.

Vickie Williams gave a request to approve an updated rate of the hanger rental fees at Clarendon/County Santee Cooper Regional Airport. This was approved and will go into effect on Jan. 1.

Next, council voted on the consideration of the third and final reading of ordinance 2022-09, an ordinance to accept,  adopt, and implement the classification and compensation study of Clarendon County, South Carolina; to authorize funding of the classification and compensation study of Clarendon County South Carolina and other related matters.  Epperson explained that council has had a first reading, a public hearing, and a second reading on this matter in which it was explained in detail. The proposed salaries for county employees has no difference from other areas similar in size, and council moved forward with implementing the new salaries starting Jan. 1.

The second ordinance on the agenda was the consideration of the third and final reading of ordinance 2022-10, an ordinance of the County Council of Clarendon County, South Carolina, to amend the Country’s official zoning map designation for tax map parcel #122-00-03-017-00; from agriculture II (AHII) to general commercial  (GC) and providing an effect date. There has been a first reading, public hearing, and second reading on this ordinance as well. Due to a business conflict, Chairman Stewart recused himself from the approval of this ordinance and stepped out of Council Chambers while the council voted for approval. Epperson  mentioned that the Clarendon County Planning Commission recommended the rezoning of this property. Director of the Planning Commision, Tabitha Hannah, gave a brief overview of this ordinance for the record.  Council approved the ordinance. 

Alexander Conyers received a special recognition. Conyers is a native of Clarendon County and current President of South Carolina State University. Mr. Conyers is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and a certified Corrections Executive, he is also a retired Colonel of the United States Army and possesses a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice/Political Science from South Carolina State University as well as a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Corrections from the University of South Carolina.

The next ordinance on Monday’s agenda was a public hearing for Ordinance 2022-12, an ordinance authorizing an increase in compensation for each member of county council and providing for related matters. Epperson explained that the Council has not had an increase in compensation in over twenty four years. The current salary for the Chairmen is 14 thousand per year and with the increase it would be 16 thousand per year. Council members currently receive 13 thousand per year and with the increase, it would go to 15 thousand per year. 

The floor was then opened for comment and a gentleman from the audience asked the council why they felt they deserved a raise. Chairman Stewart explained with the increased time and duties, the compensation increase is fair. The gentleman expressed concern that members of council only work two nights a month and the compensation increase is more than some employees receive. The gentleman expressed that he felt “council should not get a raise and the money should go to the people that really do the work.”

 County Council’s roles include, but are not limited to, approving the annual County Budget and Capital Improvement Projects, and creating meaningful legislation by way of ordinances, resolutions and proclamation.

There were no other comments and the hearing was closed.

Next was the consideration of the second reading of the same ordinance, and it was approved.

After several other monthly reports were given council went into executive session regarding a personnel matter as well as a legal one and council was adjourned.

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