Pauley: No documentation given before $50K settlement vote

WINNSBORO – After Fairfield County Council voted Monday night to award an unnamed former employee $50,000 to settle a claim against the county, Councilman Douglas Pauley informed The Voice that he plans to call for a motion to reconsider the vote at the next council meeting.

“We were, basically, not given any information during executive session by the council leadership, making it impossible to make an informed decision about the issue. We were each given a single sheet of paper with some notes about the issue – very few notes, in fact. – and Mr. Bell took the paper back from us before we left the executive session,” Pauley said.

On June 15, The Voice sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to County Administrator Malik Whitaker requesting to review all records relating to the job performance and claim of the former employee.

Gwendolyn Ashford, executive assistant to Whitaker, responded.

“The action of County Council was one act in a controversy involving an employee. At this time, materials requested are all incident to the formation of a contract” Ashford wrote. “Should the transaction produce a binding contract, the requested documents will be made available for public inspection as required by law.”

Pauley said no mention was made during the executive session of a contract to be signed.

The Voice asked Whitaker in a follow up email whether the complaint had been turned over to the county’s insurance company (provided through the S.C. Association of Counties) and whether that insurance company recommended the $50,000 settlement for the former employee’s complaint.

Whitaker had not responded at press time.

There is no public record that the former employ has filed a lawsuit against the county regarding the complaint.

“I asked Mr. Bell why Brad Caulder, acting county administrator at the time the employee left the county, was not in the executive session to present the county’s side of the employee’s complaint, and Mr. Bell dismissed by question,” Pauley said.

When Council Chairman Moses Bell called for a vote on the issue following executive session, neither Pauley nor Councilman Clarence Gilbert cast a vote. Bell counted the absence of a vote as a ‘yes’ vote, and announced the vote was 6 – 0.

“I didn’t vote for a reason,” Pauley told The Voice following the meeting.

“I had no documentation, no real information to base a vote on,” he said. “Mr. Caulder should have been included in the executive session to provide important information and answer questions about this employee’s complaint.

“We should have been presented documentation about the complaint, not Mr. Bell’s or the county attorney’s notes – notes that told us nothing about what we were voting on. That’s why I want council to reconsider the issue with a re-vote,” Pauley said.

When council returned to public session following executive session, Bell asked Councilman Neil Robinson to recuse himself and leave the room before council took a vote on the settlement.

“We do have a matter that could be a conflict of interest so we need him to recuse himself,”  Bell said.

After Robinson left the room, Councilman Mikel Trapp made the motion to award the settlement.

“I would like to make a motion to award a former employee $50,000 to settle a claim,” Trapp said.

There was no discussion in public session before council voted to pay the $50,000.

Bell could not immediately be reached for comment.


  1. Carolyn says

    My popcorn and soda ready for the next meeting.This Is going to be better than a soap oper.

  2. Buck says

    People that live in glass houses shouldn’t be throwing rocks at thy neighbor Pauley was sued by an ex Recreation director in 2018 I believe. County paid and covered his lawyers fee and the counties insurance made a settlement pay out to the lady he bullied. So what is difference here? I think personnel matters should be kept out of the public arena. Why do we need to know the details unless laws were broken.

  3. Jeff Schaffer says

    Glasshouse or not, Only those without sin can throw the stone. 5 council members voting in lockstep on every issue is not throwing rocks it’s a wake-up call! Anything Mr. Trapp has his finger on is a menace to the county, Don’t forget his comment about paying back what the A G requested for his so-called education fees of $26, or $28 thousand dollars he said he would pay that back the FIRST OF NEVER! But now he makes a motion to pay that unnamed person my guess is xxxxxxxxxxxxxx. $ 50,000 and that my friends are not throwing rocks is a reason why Mr. Ronbinson so conveniently jumped ship to vote along with the Rubber stamp 4. Now you can go back to sleep and think there is nothing wrong in FAIRY land Fairfield county. denial is a beautiful thing, but if we don’t have a voice on the council that is honestly asking valid questions then this might as well be Nazi Germany,

  4. Bobby Clay says

    Isn’t Trapp related to Neil Robinson wife by marriage or am I mistaken

  5. Wanda Carnes says


  6. buck says

    Mr. Shaefer they voted in lock step 2018-2020 so why was it ok then. They just voted how the master manipulator convinced them to do and wasted a lot of money. Here we are worried about 58 bucks in subs
    for a working lunch and in 2018-2020 admin. spent around 25-30k on 18-20 out of place palm trees at the county pool. Lets be consistent.

  7. james says

    your not mistaken its funny how some can do things and think its ok

  8. Citizen for Improvements says


  9. Peter Gainey says

    Is there anything this council does that is not private. Where can I resident go to see the county budget? How I see this contract when signed? If not signed I guess I too can submit a FOIA for more information about this councilman’s relative.

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