Georgetown County announces new Administrator, but NAACP says the selection process lacked transparency

Georgetown County News

GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD)— Georgetown County has announced the new County Administrator— David Garner.

County council voted on Tuesday night to offer the job to Garner after a nationwide search and reviewing more than 30 applications.

The Georgetown NAACP and several concerned residents are speaking out and questioning the county’s selection process.

Marvin Neal, president of the Georgetown NAACP says that the search for the new County Administrator hasn’t been fair.

He says he’s concerned over an email that he believes tilted the selection

“So, this pretty much is a skewed process. We don’t have any say-so about who they select,” Neal said.

Georgetown County officials say they believe that a councilmember forwarded the internal email to the NAACP.

News 2 obtained a copy of the email from the county’s Public Information Officer.

The email was sent on September 9th from Chairman John Thomas to councilmembers. In the message, he states his number one pick for the administrator position and then listed his following choices.

One councilmember replied to the email wanting to wait to discuss the prospects in a meeting so that decisions wouldn’t be steered in any direction.

“It looked as though he was skewing and convincing the other council persons that was the direction that they were going,” Neal said.

According to county officials, two of the top five candidates for the County Administrator position we’re mentioned as favorites of the Chairman in his email.

The county received more than thirty applications for the job.

Ultimately, council voted to award the position to David Garner— his name was never mentioned as a top pick in the email from the Chairman.

“I don’t think that there was anything inappropriate about that. It was an email between councilmembers. He listed his favorites in hopes of getting, you know, some discussion started with other councilmembers to give their favorites,” Georgetown’s Public Information Officer, Jackie Broach-Akers says.

The Public Information Officer for Georgetown County says that she doesn’t think the county selection process was flawed.

“We tried to involve the public and I think that it was very fair and open,” Broach-Akers said.

Georgetown officials also issued this statement about the allegations of a skewed selection process for the County Administrator position:

“Georgetown County has conducted a thorough search for a new county administrator, following a plan that was laid out to the public months ago and that allowed the public to have an opportunity to meet the three top finalists and reach out to their council representative with their thoughts and opinions before a decision is made”  Jackie R. Broach-Akers, Georgetown County Public Information Officer, said.

David Garner is the current administrator for Abbeville County. He will take over as the Georgetown County Administrator on January 1st following the retirement Sel Hemingway who’s held the position since 2008.

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