Editor’s Note: Due to the length of the public hearing and huge volume of information that was given during the meeting, there is no way to print everything that happened. Below is a brief overview of the hearing as a whole. To get all of the information presented, please watch the live feed of our video on Facebook® and the full-length video on The Dillon Herald’s channel on YouTube.
By Betsy Finklea
The accusations flew and tempers flared at a hearing regarding the removal of County Administrator Tony Clyburn, who received a strong show of public support at the hearing.
The meeting began with an invocation and pledge of allegiance. Then Clyburn was allowed to make his 30-minute presentation.
Clyburn appealed the council to reconsider his termination and said that the action to terminate his employment was a direct violation of his employment agreement between the county council, Dillon County, and himself. He said he has not breached any of the material provisions of his contractual agreement that would require them to terminate his employment. He then addressed the people of Dillon County. “This moment isn’t just about me. This moment is about the truth.”
Clyburn talked about some of the things that he has done during his time here including bringing PDRTA, working with the CTC to bring gravel to the worst roads, USDA grants that he has written with assistance for $600,000 some of which has been approved, put up streetlights in the communities, worked with the fire chiefs to improve the fire departments, fixed buildings which have not been touched in 20 years, and more.
Clyburn reviewed the allegations and gave a book out with the material he presented. This was very similar to the information given out at his press conference. To see his defense on the allegations against him, refer to last Tuesday’s issue of The Dillon Herald or visit our website, www.thedillonherald. com.
He reasserted his position that the allegations were false and only one had “some” merit.
Clyburn did add some new information in this presentation. He said he was in the middle of an internal audit in the Assessor’s office where he claims he uncovered some powerful people who are not paying their fair share of the property taxes. He said that he also had the nerve to ask about why an elected school board had not been implemented when 90 percent of the voters voted that they wanted this done about 10 years ago. Clyburn said he had also been very vocal about voter harvesting.
Clyburn addressed unauthorized spending. Finance Director Richard Gaddy said that he had not had any unauthorized spending to his knowledge.
Clyburn said he has made mistakes, forgotten things, and made some decisions he wishes he could take back. He said it gets pretty difficult to do your job when you have a councilman nitpicking everything you do. He said he has enjoyed every minute of serving the public. “All I ever tried to do was my job,” said Clyburn, who asked the council again to reconsider.
After this several citizens made remarks including County Treasurer Jamie Estes and Judge Lutherine Williams. There were also a number of citizens who spoke in favor of Clyburn and the job he has done.
A motion was made to terminate Clyburn followed by a second and discussion. Councilman Gerome McLeod made remarks as did Chairman Stevie Grice.
Grice refuted a number of things that Clyburn had brought up in his press conference and presentation on Wednesday morning. Grice said he had not seen a lease agreement for Clyburn as of the time of the hearing. He said Clyburn has no drivers license or voter registration card with a Dillon County address. He claims that Clyburn did not document absences. He claims there were unbudgeted raises without knowledge of council. He said there are 20 vacant positions that were budgeted. He said if those positions are filled they would be overbudget. Grice said there was a position at the landfill that was filled prior to the ad being run, and one position that was created and not advertised. He discussed the economic development fund, an employee who was paid after being denied worker’s comp and a salaried employee who received overtime, contaminated dirt, communications with Commerce, the procurement policy, conflicts of interest, and other issues. Grice said he, Councilman Harold Moody, and Councilman James Campbell spoke to Clyburn about these issues.
The vote to remove Clyburn was held after Grice made his remarks. Chairman Stevie Grice, Councilman Archie Scott, Councilman James Campbell, and Councilman Harold Moody voted to remove Clyburn. Councilman T.F. “Buzzy” Finklea, Jr., and Gerome McLeod voted against the motion to remove Clyburn. Councilman Jack Scott was not present.
Former County Administrator and current Economic Development Director Clay Young was appointed as interim administrator.