Taylor named town manager after resigning from County

WINNSBORO – After two votes four days apart, the Winnsboro town council got it right – hiring Fairfield County Administrator Jason Taylor as its new town manager effective July 5, 2021.

The announcement of Taylor’s hiring was emailed to The Voice on April 9 after the first vote which occurred just a few hours after Taylor submitted his resignation to the county at noon on Thursday, April 8. Taylor’s resignation is effective June 7, 2021.

Taylor

When the announcement was made by Winnsboro Town Hall on Friday, April 9, The Voice had not received an agenda for the Thursday meeting, which was a scheduled budget meeting, nor did the agenda, which was posted on the town website, make mention that a vote would be taken to fill the position of town manager.

A town official said the vote was taken under the discussion of agenda item ‘Other Business,’ which, along with improper posting of the agenda and lack of notification to the public does not comply with the S.C. Freedom of Information statute. There was also no vote to add the item to the agenda, according to Mayor Roger Gaddy in an interview with The Voice last week.

“Councilman Danny Miller said at the meeting that he thought we should wait and vote on it at our regular meeting on Tuesday, but I thought it was best to get it over with and clear the air. We certainly didn’t mean any harm,” Gaddy told The Voice.

Learning that there were possible illegalities with the vote, Town Manager Don Woods to place the item on the agenda for a re-vote at the regular monthly town council meeting on Tuesday, April 13, at 6:15 p.m., at the Old Armory to make the hiring official.

“I guess Danny was right,” Gaddy said. “I should have listened to him. We certainly want to do it right and be transparent. We are very much looking forward to having Jason come over to the town and we don’t want any missteps.”

Taylor was one of 28 applicants for the position.

Taylor’s email to Chairman Moses Bell and the other six council members was short and to the point. 

“After careful consideration, it has become clear to me that it is time that I pursue other opportunities.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my time serving as the County Administrator. Fairfield County still has many immediate challenges that must be addressed, but with record recent investments and jobs from new industry, along with the planning being done for needed infrastructure, the County is on a path to a bright future.  Please accept this letter as my official resignation to be effective June 7, 2021.”

Taylor’s resignation follows months of being berated in council meetings and privately by new council chairman Moses Bell and new council woman Shirley Greene. Bell also brought pressure on the county’s attorney Tommy Morgan to resign. During that time two other top employees left the county’s employ. Also in January, Bell and council members Mikel Trapp, Green and Tim Roseborough limited a new contract for Taylor to five months, and last month Bell ordered Taylor to discontinue all advertising with The Voice and to instead place all county ads in a newspaper published out of Camden.

Council hired Taylor in May, 2016, after the county had gone through a three year upheaval that included the resignation of the county administrator, two investigations by SLED and an election that turned over the majority of council.

During his five year tenure, Taylor led the county to new heights bringing in six new industries and expansions that brought almost 1,000 high paying jobs and an actual investment of more than $100 million to the county. Working with the county’s Economic Development Director Ty Davenport and members of council, Taylor exhausted the entire industrial building inventory. During this time, the county sold the spec building and facilitated the sale of the Walmart building, the Fazio building, the Mack Truck building and the Qualex building.

Taylor was instrumental in a number of other projects around the county, including the development of the 1,200 acre megasite – now one of the top available industrial sites in the state.


Trail of Success

Prior to coming to Fairfield County in 2016, Taylor served as town manager in Ridgeland where he successfully led the revitalization of the town. Some of his accomplishments as town manager of Ridgeland included:

  • Constructed a number of Parks, including an innovative walking trail project, along I 95 at Exit 21, which won the 2010 SC Municipal Association Award for Economic Development
  • Worked with the County on restoration and renovation of 15,000 sq ft Jasper County Farmers Market building
  • Design and Construction of Ridgeland Veterans Memorial Monument Park
  • Town Hall Renovation, including construction of new courtroom and council chambers
  • Annexed 41 Square miles of land into the Town, including 14 miles of Interstate 95
  • Reduced debt to less than $25,000 on a $8 million budget & built $1.5 millon reserve
  • Acquired over 200 acres of property through development agreements for the Town
  • Seized Over $8 million in cash from drug seizures off of I-95
  • Over $11 million in grants through CDBG, SCDOT, EDA, and USDA
  • Greatly expanded and upgraded water and sewer service, doubling water capacity, and opening up new service delivery areas with additional lines
  • Acquisition of 140 acre Honey Hill Civil War Battlefield site for preservation and park
  • Rewrote Zoning Code, changing it from Use Based to an innovative Form Based Method
  • Established Architectural Guidelines, helping achieve higher quality development
  • Maintained stable staff with very little turnover
  • Negotiated contract to take over fire services from the Jasper County within the 5 mile area surrounding the town, improving town’s ISO rating
  • Negotiated with the County to gain extra-jurisdictional zoning rights around town.
  • Landed large gun manufacturing company Daniel Defense, 100 plus jobs
  • Rehabilitated 4 of the town’s five elevated water tanks through $1.2 in grants
  • Design and Constructed Ridgeland’s Children’s Park & Playground and splash pad
  • Acquired 17,000 square foot historic school building and land as a donation from the County
  • Managed design and installation of the Town’s first civic art project
  • Acquired $14 million in funding from USDA for the construction of a new 2 million gallon wastewater treatment facility, which will move the town from an inefficient land application process to more environmentally friendly tertiary sewer treatment process.
  • Negotiated development and annexation agreements that resulted in over 5,000 acres of historically and environmentally sensitive land being set aside for preservation
  • Acquired former SCE&G office as a donation to the Town, renovated it using asset forfeiture funds to create a new Police Department for the Town at no cost to the Town
  • Recruited commercial development and expanded development of Exit 21, the main Exit into the Town off of I-95
  • Recruited large Boat and RV Mega Store dealership.
  • Recruited Daniel Defense arms manufacture and 100 jobs
  • Recruited Grayco building materials and millwork

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