By Stan Welch
During their meeting Tuesday, Anderson County Council addressed the issue of Rusty Burns’ official status as the Interim County Administrator.
Burns has served as interim administrator for approximately five years, following the swirl of activity spurred by the payoff of former administrator Joey Preston in 2008.
That was immediately followed by the hiring of deputy administrator Michael Cunningham, who was subsequently fired by the new Council. That firing was followed by the appointment of transportation director Holt Hopkins as administrator, a position he held for several weeks, until Burns was hired.
Burns has directed successful efforts to cut several millions of dollars from the County’s budget, while maintaining all services, and has led a very successful economic development program, creating thousands of jobs and well over a billion dollars in capital investments in Anderson County.
But his continued interim status has come up from time to time, as it did Tuesday night. The Council agreed to advertise the position in house for two weeks and revisit the matter then.
Several area residents were honored by the Council, as they approved two resolutions recognizing the citizens’ efforts and achievements.
Tommi Rae Fowler, a sixteen year old Wren High school junior was recognized for winning a national competition on the Food Network’s popular “Chopped” series. Fowler won the network’s inaugural Teen Tournament, which saw cooking students from around the nation compete in several rounds of competition.
Fowler is a culinary arts student at the Career Technology Center, and prepared such dishes as purple cauliflower soup with sautéed octopus, grilled antelope chops, and chocolate covered crickets. She was awarded a $40,000 scholarship to continue her culinary education.
Her parents, Tommy Ray and Marissa Fowler were also on hand for the presentation of the resolution by Council.
Also recognized for their efforts in securing the South Carolina District’s annual convention of the Goldwing Road Riders’ Association (GWRRA) were area residents Joe Barr and Teresa Morgan. Barr is the director of the Williamston Rescue Squad, and Morgan is a member of the County EMZ Board.
The GWRRA is a national organization with more than 70,000 members. The South Carolina district has fifteen chapters and several hundred members. County staffers Scott Stoller, Glenn Brill and Terry Gaines were also recognized by the resolution.
The Council also received a resolution from the General Assembly, designating September 25 as State Shrimp and Grits Day. A shrimp and grits cook-off will be held that day at the Convention Center, where samples of the various entries in the cook-off can be purchased for a one time price of five dollars.
Council also gave final approval to a rezoning request that cleared the way for the location of a WalMart at the corner of Reed Road and Highway 81. The request was amended to include several changes that the County and the SCDOT worked out to address potential traffic issues at the busy intersection.