Edgefield picks Georgia man, despite DUI case

EDGEFIELD, S.C. --- A former White County, Ga., manager whose contract was terminated following a DUI charge has been offered the job of county administrator in Edgefield County.

Edgefield County Council members unanimously agreed to offer the job to Alton Brown, of Cleveland, Ga., Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday, Mr. Brown said by phone from his Cleveland home that he might take the job.

"I'm certainly leaning in that direction," he said. "The first step is to take my wife on a tour (through Edgefield), maybe even as soon as this weekend because as the old saying goes, 'If momma's not happy, no one is happy.' So that's the first thing."

Mr. Brown, one of the original candidates for the position vacated by former administrator John Pettigrew Jr., had removed his name from consideration for the job after information surfaced about a DUI with refusal charge and a charge of open container following a traffic stop by city police on July 11 in Cleveland. He said Wednesday he was "extremely impressed" that the council pursued him after he had withdrawn.

According to the White County News, Mr. Brown -- who had served as White County manager since 2003 -- was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the charges. White County officials contacted Wednesday said county commissioners decided to terminate Mr. Brown's contract following the DUI incident.

According to local officials, members of the Edgefield County Council were so impressed with Mr. Brown's resume that they asked him to reconsider, leading to Tuesday evening's vote.

"His resume was very good and it seems like when he goes somewhere he stays there," said District 2 Councilman Rodney Ashcraft.

Concerning the DUI charge, Mr. Ashcraft said the council would discuss that if and when the charge became a conviction.

"He doesn't have any (record) and it's not a DUI until he's convicted," Mr. Ashcraft said. "But I'm not going to pass up the opportunity to hire such a qualified candidate. He was good. I guess we'd have to discuss all that at another meeting to see what everyone thinks."