RICHLAND COUNTY, SC — Tony McDonald was chosen Tuesday as Richland County administrator by unanimous vote.
His promotion to the countys top manager marks the first time in more than 20 years that all 11 members agreed about who to hire.
Council members refused to release details of his contract, such as salary, because McDonald had not signed the document. Councilman Greg Pearce said it should be available today.
Even before the meeting adjourned, Councilwoman Gwendolyn Davis Kennedy enthused: I am just so happy about this. The last time, he refused us. He likes us a little more.
McDonald, 52 and a native of South Carolina, has been serving as interim administrator since June a position hed held once before, choosing then to return as second-in-command rather than apply for the administrators post.
He has worked for the county for 27 years, starting as a research analyst.
Council members abandoned an outside search that could have cost as much as $75,000 because, they said, McDonald was the right man for the job right here at home.
They cited not just his experience but his calm demeanor and openness to new ideas.
Hes going to be even-keeled, Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson said. We can trust him to be fair and honest with us.
He has the public interest at heart, added Councilman Bill Malinowski. The public, getting to know him, will like him.
Several big projects face McDonald as he works with the council to get a $21 million tournament park in northeast Richland County off the ground, embark on a massive expansion of roads, bus service and pedestrian walkways with the voter-approved, sales-tax increase and renovate a Decker Boulevard strip mall into a $21.5 million county office complex.
One of his first responsibilities, however, will be to replace himself by hiring an assistant administrator.
McDonald said he was overwhelmed by the councils 11-0 vote.
Obviously that gives me confidence ... and Im grateful for that, he said. The councils been extremely supportive.
Reach Hinshaw at (803) 771-8641.