Tuesday night, Richland County Council members will discuss how to go about hiring a new administrator.
The council agenda includes a closed-door session that vice chairman Greg Pearce said would cover “a transition plan” between the departure of Milton Pope and the hiring of a replacement.
The council could decide to appoint a committee to manage a recruitment plan, and likely will advertise the vacancy nationally.
On March 20, Pope surprised the council with a resignation letter, saying he was planning to retire June 30 after five years in the county’s top job.
Pope, who is 48, has declined to discuss his plans. The contract covering his $157,500-a-year job ends June 30.
“We will discuss, ‘What are we going to do now?’” Pearce said.
Pearce said Tuesday’s meeting would qualify for an executive session if the conversation involves asking Pope to stay beyond the end of his contract or appointing an interim administrator. Those are personnel matters that qualify for a private discussion under state law.
Pearce said he would like Pope to stay on until a replacement is named.
Pope was selected administrator in February 2007 after serving as interim administrator for more than a year. He got the job on a 6-5 vote, beating out two other candidates. A South Carolina native, he was the first African-American elevated to the top administrative post in the state’s second-largest county.
He administers a budget of $139 million and manages nearly 2,000 employees.
Pope’s budgeting skills have earned him praise, as Richland County avoided the layoffs and furloughs that have bruised the economy during three years of a deep recession.
Efforts to reach the council chairman, Kelvin Washington, were unsuccessful Friday.