By Betsy Finklea
The Dillon County Administrator, Rodney Berry, resigned at a called meeting on Friday.
The called meeting contained the agenda item—Administrator’s Contract.
When they came to the agenda item, Berry said he had disseminated some information to council and conditions that were consistent with his contract. He said upon council’s approval, it would be his intent to resign.
The agreement states the following (it is printed verbatim except for the vehicle VIN number which was removed):
This agreement, made and entered into this 25th day of May, 2018, by and between the Dillon County Council, Dillon, South Carolina, and Rodney Berry, County Administrator, hereinafter called Mr. Berry.
WHEREAS, Mr. Berry has been employed as County Administrator for Dillon County pursuant to an employment contract with County Council dated January 25, 2017, and extended for a period ending December 31, 2018, and
WHEREAS, Mr. Berry has indicated a desire to resign his position as of end of business May 25, 2018, and
WHEREAS, County Council is agreeable to terminating the existing employment contract with Mr. Berry effective 5:00 p.m. on May 25, 2018, subject to the following terms and conditions,
NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual promises and covenants contained herein and other good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which are hereby acknowledged, the Parties hereby agree as follows:
1. The County of Dillon shall pay Mr. Berry his remaining salary, accrued leave time, and insurance through December 31, 2018, either in a lump sum payment in the amount of ($63,217.78) on or before June 1, 2018, at 5:00 p.m., or in continued payroll payments in the amount of through December 31, 2018, at Mr. Berry’s sole discretion. Mr. Berry shall inform the County of Dillon of his decision regarding a lump sum payout or continued payroll payments by May 30, 2018, at 12:00 noon. In any event, the County of Dillon shall be responsible for health insurance for Mr. Berry through December 31, 2018.
2. The County of Dillon shall also give Mr. Berry the county vehicle he has been using, to wit: a 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe. Title to said vehicle to be conveyed to Mr. Berry on or before June 1, 2018, at 5:00 p.m. Mr. Berry shall have use of the said vehicle until such time as title is conveyed. The process and expense of titling the vehicle shall be the responsibility of the County of Dillon with the necessary signatures by Mr. Berry.
3.The County Council will accept a letter from Mr. Berry effective at 5:00 p.m., May 25, 2018, resigning from his position as Dillon County Administrator.
4. Both the County of Dillon and the Dillon County Council on the one part, and Mr. Berry on the other part, by executing this agreement, fully waive any right either may have to any public hearing concerning the ending and conclusion of Mr. Berry’s employment as County Administrator by the County of Dillon.
5. Both the Dillon County Council and the County of Dillon on the one part, and Mr. Berry on the other part, expressly release each other from any further legal liability and responsibility arising from the aforesaid employment agreement, and from the termination thereof, and from any further duties and responsibilities arising from the employment relationship between Mr. Berry and the Dillon County Council, except as set forth hereinabove.
6. The parties agree that neither shall make any negative or disparaging remarks or reference about the other to any party.
7. Both Mr. Berry on the one part and the County of Dillon and the Dillon County Council on the other part, acknowledge and agree that neither shall have any further duties or responsibilities to the other except as set forth hereinafter.
The motion was made by Councilman Harold Moody to accept the resignation and agreement seconded by Councilman T.F. “Buzzy” Finklea, Jr. Voting in favor were Moody, Finklea, Councilman Gerome McLeod, and Chairman Stevie Grice. Councilman Archie Scott and Councilman Jack Scott did not vote. Councilman James Campbell was absent from the meeting.
A. Scott said he didn’t agree with Berry’s resignation, but if it was what he wanted to do and that he appreciated Berry’s time here and enjoyed working with him and thanked him for all he had done for Dillon County.
Berry said that he believed great things were going to happen for Dillon County and he appreciated his time here. He said it had been a blessing, a learning experience, but overall a really great experience. He said he will pursue something in economic development and if it is possible for him to help Dillon County that they could count on him.
Berry’s resignation was effective at 5:00 p.m. on Friday.
The council also made a motion to hire an interim county administrator upon the recommendation of their county attorney Alan Berry.
Moody made a motion to hire Lisa Gray. This was seconded by Gerome McLeod. Moody, McLeod, Finklea, Grice, and J. Scott voted in favor of this motion. A. Scott did not vote.
Gray is the former Dillon County Clerk To Council. Gray is a 1980 graduate of Florence-Darlington Technical College with an associate degree in accounting. She was hired with Dillon County Administration from September 30, 1985. From September 30, 1985-December 31, 1994, she served a finance clerk. From January 1, 1995 until May 30, 2014 has served from clerk to council. She served several times as interim county administrator. She became the interim administrator effective at 5:00 p.m. on Friday.
Dillon County Deputy Administrator Robbie Coward told The Herald that he also resigned on Friday from his position.
Note: The videos of the Dillon County Council meetings from last Wednesday and Friday appear on The Dillon Herald’s channel on YouTube.
By Betsy Finklea