HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Horry County leaders reached a deal with their former county administrator that will see him receive a year’s worth of compensation.
At Tuesday’s meeting, county council members went into an executive session where they discussed Chris Eldridge’s employment with the county. They voted 9-2 to move forward with a separation package.
The details of that package were released Thursday following a WMBF News Freedom of Information Act request. It states Eldridge will continue to be paid on a bi-weekly basis at his current salary, which includes a car allowance, accrual of vacation time and paid holidays provided to county employees. He’ll also continue to receive county benefits.
Eldridge earned an annual salary of $211,000. His resignation won’t take effect until April 16, 2020, exactly one year since the council and Eldridge agreed on the terms of the severance package.
During that period, Eldridge will not have any other responsibilities for Horry County Government. On Wednesday, Steve Gosnell was named the interim county administrator.
Eldridge’s job has been a heated topic of conversation ever since he asked the State Law Enforcement Division to look into possible extortion after he claimed that Gardner, who was newly sworn-in as the Horry County Council chairman, tried to manipulate Sandy Davis, director of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation, during a lunch meeting with Luke Barefoot, an associate of Gardner’s.
SLED investigated the claims and 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson cleared Gardner of the extortion allegations after reviewing SLED’s report.
At the council’s March 5 meeting, a motion to terminate Eldridge’s employment died in a 6-6 tie. It was preceded by nearly two hours of fiery exchange between council members.
Later in March, negotiations began to put together a “termination package” for Eldridge.
The full details of the severance package can be found below: