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Job opening: Horry County begins recruitment for its next administrator

Horry County Council votes on Eldridge’s employment

Horry County Council met once again to decide the future of its top employee, Administrator Chris Eldridge. Here is how the latest vote went following the SLED investigation into Chairman Johnny Gardner.
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Horry County Council met once again to decide the future of its top employee, Administrator Chris Eldridge. Here is how the latest vote went following the SLED investigation into Chairman Johnny Gardner.

Attention all prospective administrators: Horry County Council is looking for its new non-elected leader.

On Tuesday, County Council decided to go public with its nationwide application for its administrator position. The job is the top role in the Horry County Government organization and is one of two positions the council has the power to hire and fire.

The job position is at the head of staff, implements council’s directives and reports directly to the elected body. The rest of County staff then reports to the administrator.

Human Resources Director Patrick Owens said it will take between two to five months to find a new candidate. He recommended a similar process to the previous administrator’s search, which brought in over 140 applications for the job.

The job listing will be advertised on national job search sites and on the County’s website, Owens said.

Once the application period of 30 days closes, the HR department will cut the number of applicants down based off the minimum requirements of the job.

“I think Council would like HR to parse through people who are unqualified, who haven’t had government experience or higher education,” Horry County Chairman Johnny Gardner said.

The minimum requirements include a master’s degree in public administration and eight years of experience in jobs relevant to leading the county, according to the job listing. In addition, general knowledge of South Carolina law and the inner working of governments are considered necessary skills.

They also need to be able to sit for long periods of time, which is explicitly said in the job description.

Once the application process is over and candidates are vetted by HR for qualifications, County Council will start its review.

The final set of candidates will go through a round of interviews in executive session, and then the top three will be picked. The final three candidates’ applications will be subjected to the Freedom of Information Act.

Out of those three, a finalist will be picked and the terms of employment will be negotiated. According to the job description, the salary will depend of the qualifications of the candidate.

Gardner said he is looking for a candidate who goes beyond the basic requirements and has the experience to help Horry County manage the issues it faces in regards to growth and public safety.

Council hopes to make this a relatively quick process. Gardner said he hopes to have a new administrator selected within 90 days of the application being posted following Tuesday’s meeting. Still, if no one is picked by council, the search could take longer.

In the meantime, Steve Gosnell will continue serving as the interim administrator.

The past Administrator Chris Eldridge resigned last month after a months-long ordeal starting with him asking for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to investigate Gardner, who was elected last year.

At the end of his employment, Eldridge was paid in excess of $200,000 a year with benefits including a car allowance.

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