Gerald Seals will take the “interim” tag off his county administrator title, as Richland County Council took an unexpected vote Tuesday night to extend a full contract to him.
Seals, a former Greenville County administrator, began working on an interim basis in July after previous county administrator Tony McDonald retired.
The county administrator manages all the day-to-day operations of county government. In five months, Seals has led the county toward a reorganization of staff departments and the implementation of a biennial budgetting system.
“I think, in order to move this county forward, these are some of the steps we’re going to have to take,” outgoing council Chairman Torrey Rush said after the 9-2 vote to hire Seals. Councilmen Seth Rose and Greg Pearce voted against the hire. “And it’s change. Some people are not going to like change, and that’s fine. But I think, overall, it’s for the good of this county,” Rush said.
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Rush praised Seals’ knowledge of government process and organization and said he has been demanding of county staff members to “do your job, and rightly so.”
Council had begun the process of a national search for a permanent administrator, Rush said, but members decided they liked the direction the county was headed under Seals’ leadership.
Seals said he is “looking forward to the challenge” of managing Richland County.
“Our focus is to take the good things that we’ve done and make them better,” Seals said. “We want to be a customer-centered organization. We want to be strategic. And we want to make sure that we’re meeting the needs of citizens.”
Reach Ellis at (803) 771-8307.