Originally created 08/19/00

Manager refuses job in Colleton



EDGEFIELD, S.C. - Edgefield County Administrator Wayne Adams turned down the job Colleton County Council offered him Thursday.

He had gone expecting to accept the position of county administrator but declined when the council split 3-2 on the decision to offer him the job, Mr. Adams said Friday. He said he didn't want to take on the duties of administrator without the council's full support.

"I'm pretty disappointed," Mr. Adams said. "I just wasn't convinced that the Colleton County Council was ready to move forward on a united front."

Council Chairman Steve Murdaugh said the five-member council - composed of three white members and two black members - recently has divided many votes along racial lines.

"Both council members who voted against hiring Mr. Adams skipped the interview process," Mr. Murdaugh said. "I don't know how they could even have an opinion."

The chairman said he didn't blame Mr. Adams for refusing to enter into a situation where he lacked the council's full support.

"We're very disappointed, because Wayne would have made a great administrator," he said. "But unfortunately, we have some members of council who don't conduct themselves professionally."

Colleton County has been searching for an administrator since Arthur Williams was asked to resign in March after more than a year on the job. The council decided to remove Mr. Williams because he didn't provide financial statements for many months, said Karla Daddieco, assistant to the administrator.

Mr. Adams was offered $72,000 a year, a vehicle for his personal use and $3,000 to move his family to Walterboro, the county seat. He currently makes $62,000 as Edgefield's administrator.

Colleton County - located among Charleston, Beaufort, Dorchester and Hampton counties - has a population of 34,000 and a budget of $14 million. Mr. Adams would have been in charge of 330 employees.

Edgefield County has a population of 22,000 and a budget of $5 million with 100 employees under Mr. Adams.

The administrator said he's not in a position where he feels he has to take another job.

"I have a contract in Edgefield County, and I believe my position to be fairly secure," Mr. Adams said. "But my aspirations are to one day run a larger county. That's just the natural progression."

Reach Katie Throne at (803) 279-6895 or scbureau@augustachronicle.com.