THOMSON - Two McDuffie County employees will not appeal their punishment for accepting favors and gifts from county contractors and other employees.
Road Department Special Projects Coordinator Rusty Allen and Recreation Director Bob Howard agreed to a McDuffie County Board of Commissioners ruling Thursday after they were found in violation of the county's employee personnel policy.
At a commissioners meeting last Monday - where County Administrator Lamar Hamill's resignation was also announced - the board decided on a letter of reprimand as well as a forfeiture of the 2.25 percent standard of living increase for Allen and Howard.
Allegations were brought forward at that meeting that Howard and Allen used a county subcontractor to perform work on their homes without the county's consent. Both claimed there was nothing illegal about the work. The commissioners' hands were tied when it came to the personnel policy, which provides a precise system to follow with regards to issuing sanctions, officials said. Both waited until Thursday to formally accept those sanctions.
The allegations originally stemmed from an unidentified county employee who came forward with the information, officials said.
Meanwhile, Hamill said Thursday that he had been contemplating leaving McDuffie County for some time. He resigned before Monday's meeting when allegations were brought forward that he may have used county funds to furnish a home repair performed by a county subcontractor. In his letter of resignation, Hamill maintained that he did no wrongdoing, and as a result the Board did not find him to be in violation of any county policy.
"It's been in the works," he said of his resignation. "I would have done it three months ago, but I wanted to get these allegations cleared up.
"I came here to really help Chairman Newton to get the position established and help him look for a county manager," he said.
He added that he would rather be in an area that was enjoying tremendous growth, and "that's not the case in McDuffie County where we're maintaining the status quo."
Hamill was a well-respected county leader, and Board Chairman Charlie Newton is sad to see him go.
"I hate to see Lamar leave because of the job he's done," he said. "He was a great county manager."
Hamill will remain with the county for 30 days to enable a smoother transition to a new County Administrator. If, after 30 days is up, the county still needs help, Hamill will commit to another 30 days.
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