Council tables audit report; admin’s contract discussion

WINNSBORO – In its first full meeting, Fairfield County’s newly seated council voted 4 – 3 to postpone until the next meeting both of the agenda’s substantive items (the annual audit presentation and the county administrator’s contract) and voted only to approve council’s 2021 calendar and a date and time – 10 a.m., Jan. 23 – for a council orientation at Midlands Technical Fairfield Campus. 

Councilman Mikel Trapp moved to amend the agenda by postponing until the Jan. 25 meeting: 1) agenda item 12 A, the county’s annual audit report, which is now overdue and which auditor Tom McNeish of Elliot Davis was prepared to present virtually at the meeting, and 2) agenda item 15 A, an executive session discussion regarding County Administrator Jason Taylor’s contract which, the county attorney explained, is currently a day-to-day contract.

“My reason being on 12 A, I was not able to open up the agenda until last night (Sunday night),” Trapp said. “I don’t see we can have a fair discussion of 15A without actually going through the information from 12 A. So I would like to table 12 A and 15 A until the next scheduled meeting,”
The agenda packet had been delivered electronically on the previous Friday.

After newly elected Councilwoman Shirley Greene seconded the motion, Councilman Douglas Pauley questioned it.

“Items 12 A and 15 A don’t have any correlation with each other,” Pauley said. “12 A is the audit and 15 A is a personnel matter in executive session. I don’t understand the correlation.”

Trapp replied that understanding the audit would give him a better understanding of how to conduct the dialogue of the administrator’s contract.

The vote to postpone passed with a  4 – 3 vote, with Trapp, Greene, and council members Timothy Roseborough and Moses Bell voting ‘for’ the postponement of items 12 A and 15 A. Council members Pauley, Neil Robinson and Clarence Gilbert voted ‘against’ the postponement.

With the removal of the discussion of Taylor’s contract from the agenda, Pauley asked Bell about the status of Taylor’s contract. Greene spoke up to tell Pauley to ask Morgan.

Morgan explained that the contract, which expired prior to the new council being seated, could not be bound to this council by a prior council and is currently in a holdover state – on a day-to-day basis – until a new contract is approved by the current council. 

“It’s not an official contract,” Morgan said, “but Taylor is the county administrator. He is just not currently acting under the terms of an official contract.”

During county council time, Bell and Greene both thanked their fellow council member for electing them to chair and vice chair, respectively. Bell said he believes in transparency and hopes the council will do what is needed to help the communities.

“I went through the audit and saw a lot of things,” Bell said, “that we have some serious questions about.”

After the meeting, Bell told The Voice that he plans, as chair, to focus on the poor and rural communities and said he especially wants to get some nice things for his Ridgeway district.

The next regular council meeting is scheduled for Jan. 25.

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