Florence County Council appoints Chairman Rusty Smith as the n - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Florence County Council appoints Chairman Rusty Smith as the new County Administrator

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FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) -The Florence County Council voted today to appoint Chairman Rusty Smith as the new County Administrator less than a week after Thomas Robinson announced his resignation of the position.

Councilmen Roger Poston and James Schofield opposed the motion.    

"The time was wrong to do it. We will have two newly elected council members who will be joining this council in January and they will have to deal with the administrator on a day-to-day basis and we should have waited till that time," Schofield said.

Councilman Alphonso Bradley supports Smith because he says he is qualified and the move will help the county save money.

 "To advertise and put them out in all of the papers and all of the media outlets that you have to advertise in all around the country and we've already been through that process before," Bradley said. "And to go through it again so soon, I didn't think it was a good idea."

Smith tried to become the county administrator a year ago but was not appointed then. The council went with Robinson instead.

Bradley and Schofield both agree that the council's relationship with Robinson was at its end.

"Make no mistake, I knew Mr. Robinson was not getting the job done and I knew we had to find a replacement," Schofield said.

In September of last year, WMBF news talked with Licia Stone of the Florence Citizens in Action.

Stone opposed Smith's motion to become county administrator then and does now.

Stone bases her opposition on balance sheets obtained from the Freedom of Information Act of South Carolina. She says according to that information, Smith made some poor decisions for the county financially.

"We think they should have returned over a million dollars from their discretionary funds to the general fund to balance the budget," Stone said.

Stone also says she questions the legality of the move. In a letter from the Attorney General's Office of South Carolina regarding the issue last year, it's suggested that Smith, a the current chairman of the council, cannot assume office as the county administrator until his term as chairman is up even if he resigns as Chairman. This is according to section 4-9-100 of the South Carolina Code (1986).

Smith's term as chairman ends in 2014.

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