Greenwood County Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to continue their contract relationship with acting county attorney Stephen Baggett, Jr. until at least July 2013, when they will once again take up the discussion of hiring a full time attorney.
A lengthy discussion on the topic of a full time attorney took place at last Tuesday’s administration and finance committee meeting before council came to a consensus that they should continue their current relationship with Stephen Baggett, Jr. for another six months. Council voted to take the discussion up again in July.
County manager Toby Chappell sent a four page memo to council on Jan. 8 recommending that the county hire a full time attorney. In the memo, Chappell thanked council to give staff the time to compile data so that “the decision could be made based on empirical data and not upon emotions or preconceived notions regarding the County’s need.”
Chappell recommended, based on the data received from county staff and similar counties in South Carolina, that the county hire a full time attorney. Steve Brown expressed concerns over staff having access to the attorney, as they did with former county attorney Chuck Watson, and the attorney getting involved in management decisions. Steve Fisher expressed concern over the potential salary that would be paid to an attorney. Fisher said that at the salary range listed in the memo that the county would be forced to hire an attorney with little to no practical experience.
In other business, council was set to pass a resolution to order a public hearing on a lease renewal with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for weather equipment at the airport. However, Chappell asked council to table the discussion because he didn’t like some of the language in the new lease. Chappell said one specific example was that the FAA could opt out of the lease with a 60 day written notice while the county did not have that option. Chappell said that Rossie Corwon, assistant county engineer and airport manager, would be going back to the FAA to have the language changed.
Edith Childs presented Chappell and Greenwood Mayor Welborn Adams with plaques for the recent food drive competition, which the county won. Childs said that about 5,000 pounds of food were collected between the two entities. Adams received a second place plaque and Chappell received a first place plaque.