Laurens County Administrator 1 of 5 in the running in Horry County
Caime will know July 9 if he has Horry County job
The Laurens County Administrator since 2016, Jon Caime, will get the word on July 9 if he is or is not the Horry County Council’s selection as the new county administrator.
Caime said last Tuesday he is “not going anywhere,” but he interviewed as one of five candidates in a closed session of the Horry County Council. He got a taste of rough-and-tumble Horry County politics – audience members yelled “Shame!” as the council voted 10-2 last Wednesday to close their interview-meeting to the public.
It had been announced as an open meeting. A member made the motion to close the meeting and another “called the question,” forcing an immediate vote with no discussion. Horry County gave its most recent administrator a buy-out so he would leave.
The Horry County Council is scheduled to vote July 9.
In addition to Caime, who came to Laurens from Hart County, Ga. (15 years), candidates are State Rep. Alan Clemmons of Myrtle Beach, former Myrtle Beach City Councilman Wayne Gray, interim Administrator Steve Gosnell and former York County manager Bill Shanahan.
Since the interview session wasn’t open to the public, the Myrtle Beach paper asked each candidate departing the meeting for a comment on their qualifications. Caime, 54, said he’s seeking the job because he loves South Carolina and wants to help lead one of the state’s fastest growing regions. Originally from New York, he has been an entrepreneur, saying he can run government as a business, making it customer- first, people- first and more efficient. “If you really don’t understand what it takes to do the job, y ou don’t really understand what can be done and what is possible. In government, we tend to work in silos and as a bureaucracy, which is by design, but it’s incredibly inefficient,” he said.
Caime said if he was named county administrator, he would want to make sure all people in Horry County can prosper.
Back in Laurens County, Caime spoke eloquently last Tuesday at the Chamber board meeting about the proposed “capital initiative” that could be on the ballot November, 2020. The Laurens County Council needs to appoint a 6-member panel to study and prioritize proposed capital projects; almost all neighbor counties have this initiative in place now.
Caime said the initiative – an additional 1-cent sales tax – will generate $44 million. It could projects like a new EMS headquarters, a careers-education center, a new library for Clinton, and a safe swimming park on Lake Greenwood. Horry County’s tax, by contrast, generates $600 million.
Caime said he was speaking to the Chamber board as an individual Laurens County resident, not a county official.
He also met with the Laurens County Council in a closed session Thursday night for a “personnel” matter; no action was taken.
Caime replaced former Laurens County Administrator Ernie Segars, who held the position 27 years. The budget adopted by the Laurens County Council Thursday night lists salary in the County Administration at $130,000, a 2% increase over last year; the Horry County administrator salary is more than $200,000/annual.