Florence County crony hire "saves" money?

Only in places like Florence County could hiring an unqualified good ol' boy be considered a way to save money - which is exactly what the hiring of Rusty Smith, Florence County Council's Chair, to serve as County Administrator is being called.

The "Rusty Re-Do", the second attempt by Council members to give Smith the job, hired Smith for roughly the same salary as the outgoing administrator, who was sent packing with a six-month salary severance after his first year on the job.

Not surprisingly, the departing administrator, who was hired after Smith's first attempt to get the job was torpedoed by negative publicity, was shown the door after he faced "resistance" in his job. We're pretty sure some of that resistance came from Council members who wanted to give Smith the job in the first place, which they did just before several members of Council left following the November elections.

The alleged savings are in the differences between compensation. Smith will be paid an annual salary of $142,000, about five grand less than his predecessor, won't have a 401K match worth $17,000 a year and won't have moving expenses, since he already lives here. While an annual savings of about 15% of what the county might sound like a bargain, we're not comparing candidates with similar experience. No telling how much Smith will end up costing the county with his lack of experience - or how much the county will pay to hire an assistant to actually oversee the work Smith isn't qualified or capable of performing.

Don't be surprised if most of any savings realized by hiring Smith are through reducing the time needed to recruit and hire the friends and family members of Council members. Nothing like speeding up the process of good ol' boy government.

Sadly, this seems to be the kind of government they seem to like in Florence County. These are the people who re-elected a Solicitor who was in bed with defense attorneys, even allowing one to manage his re-election campaign, regularly votes for inept town and school board members - and votes for a County Council whose number one mission is to ensure jobs for one of their own.

Democracy is based upon the premise that people deserve to get what they vote for. In Florence, they're getting it - and seem to like it.

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