The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance

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County Council, October 31

Council deliberates over renewal of Administratorís contract
We think the process has been belittling
Warwick Jones

As has been common of late, an executive session took up most of the meeting of the Finance Committee. There were few items on the agenda and most were dispensed in minutes.

The Committee approved a purchase by the City of North Charleston of a 2.5 acre parcel of land under the Countyís greenbelt program. The cost was $39,500. The land abuts Filbin Creek and supplements other land along the creek owned by the City and purchased with greenbelt funds. There was also approval of changes to the Financial Policies of the County. Staff assured Council that the changes would have no impact on the County. They were relatively minor and designed to bring the language of the policies into accord with that required by rating agencies.

The executive session was to discuss the County Administratorís contract. At the conclusion of the session, Chairman Pryor told attendees of the Finance Committee meeting that a decision on renewing the contact had been deferred because Council members needed more information.

The renewal of County Administrator Taylorís contract has been before Council for some time. If we recall correctly, it was on an agenda of a prior meeting but taken off before the meeting. And it is clear that some Council members have issues with the Administratorís performance. It was also evident last night when Council members returned to the chamber, generally unsmiling and eyes downcast, avoiding contact with those of Mr. Taylor.

We donít know the issues that Council has with the Administrator, nor do we have the knowledge and experience to make a judgment. But if the Administrator has deficiencies they are not conspicuous to us attending the meetings of Council. His conduct has been highly professional and proper.

But we will fault Council for its conduct. It has the right to deliberate over the renewal of the contract. But the way and length of its deliberation is belittling of the Administrator. Its deliberations should have been private until a conclusion was reached. But the issue is now public knowledge and inconclusive. And what is the signal sent to staff? How does he command respect if Council shows little? And he suffers this slight without any ability to respond. Council members have been interacting with the Administrator for four years or so. And they need more information to make an assessment?


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