Administrator position defunded, final check cut

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By David Meade

The position of Administrator for the Town of Williamston was eliminated with a 5-0 unanimous vote of Williamston Town Council during a special called meeting last Thursday.

The town’s former administrator Phyllis Lollis has been issued a severance check for 60 days pay as stated in the original hiring agreement, Mayor Mack Durham said Wednesday. The final payment, which the mayor said amounted to about $11,400, included three weeks of accumulated vacation time.

Durham said the position had an annual salary of $53,934 and with retirement and benefits, the package came to approximately $70,000.

The status of the administrator had been classified as “suspended with pay” since Durham took office in January.

The decision on what to do with the position had been postponed until a full council was seated and the special meeting was the first under the new mayor with a full council.

During the meeting, which lasted only about 30 minutes, Councilman Otis Scott made the motion to eliminate the position. Scott said he had made the original motion to establish the position during his first term on council and wanted to be the councilman to make the motion to defund it.

There was little discussion about why the position was being eliminated other than a few comments by councilmen about the job performance of the town’s administrator.

Newly elected Councilman Rockey Burgess, who filled the Ward Two seat, seconded the motion. During discussion he stated that the vote had nothing to do with the job performance of Mrs. Lollis and that she was not being fired.

“We are not firing her,” he said. “That term implies wrongdoing. I know of none at this time.” Burgess commended the administrator for the job she did.

Councilmen Scott, Tony Hagood and David Harvell echoed the comments that Lollis had done a good job while she was there.

The Mayor stated that eliminating the position “had nothing to do with any wrongdoing but that the position is simply not essential at this time.”

In other action, Council unanimously approved the 911 Dispatch Transfer with Anderson County and a new contract with the ClearWater Company that runs the Waste Water Treatment Plant.

The Council also approved two funding requests for upcoming events, however the vote was 4-1 with Councilman Harvell opposed.

The ParkFest event request was approved for $3000 and the GWBA Party in the Park event request was approved for $800.

Funding for both events will come from the town’s Hospitality Tax fund.

A vote to amend the budget was held on each funding issue.

Councilman Harvell was opposed to all of the funding votes.

The Mayor announced that Councilman Rockey Burgess had been sworn in during a private ceremony the day after the election and that a public swearing in ceremony will be held at the May meeting of council.

“We are very pleased to have a full council,” the mayor said.