AIKEN - Liz Thomas lost the election for the Aiken County treasurer's job last fall to Linda Sharpe. This week, she lost her job thanks in part to the same woman.
Mrs. Thomas, the Aiken County deputy treasurer, quit after it became clear the two women could not work together after just one day with Mrs. Sharpe as treasurer.
Mrs. Sharpe was sworn in Monday and officially took office Tuesday. Mrs. Sharpe, the wife of state Representative Charles Sharpe, R-Wagener, won the treasurer's job by almost 6,000 votes against Mrs. Thomas, who resigned Tuesday.
Mrs. Thomas served under former treasurer Margie Plunkett and had been a county employee for nearly 20 years.
"She had indicated to me that a reorganization would take place and my services were no longer needed, but she would not elaborate further," Mrs. Thomas said. "It was put to me that either I resign or I would be dismissed."
Mrs. Sharpe said Mrs. Thomas left by choice.
"After discussing the organizational changes that would be made within the department, she and I decided that in order to keep the problems down and the resentment from increasing, it would probably be best for all concerned if she chose to resign," Mrs. Sharpe said.
Mrs. Thomas said the treasurer informed her of her plans at closing time on Tuesday. She plans to look for work within the county system.
"Because I did not want to tarnish the reputation that I had developed with the county I decided it would be best to resign," Mrs. Thomas said. "It really surprised me. I really enjoyed working with the county and have developed many friendships. The benefits are good, and I hope to finish out my retirement here."
Under state law, employees of elected officials, regardless of their length of service or experience, continue their jobs at the discretion of the officeholder.
Mrs. Sharpe would not elaborate on the changes she plans to implement, saying, "They are not complete and it would not be fair to my staff to make them public at this time.
"I'm not sure if she was resentful of the fact that I won the election," Mrs. Sharpe said. "We were cordial throughout the event. But I'm not sure if she would have been satisfied working for me, and I'm not sure I would have been satisfied having her work for me. It was a give-and-take situation."
Mrs. Sharpe said she was not aware of any other forthcoming resignations.