Candidates face few qualification hurdles in seeking some county offices

As with the clerk of court and auditor offices, there are few qualifications required of a candidate vying to become Beaufort County Treasurer, according to state law.

To be elected treasurer, a candidate need only be 18 years old and a resident of the county at the time of election to seek the office, according to the S.C. Election Commission.

Treasurer Joy Logan seeks reelection in November's general election and was the only candidate to file for the officeby the March 30 deadline, according to the S.C. Election Commission.

At this point, any candidate interested in challenging Logan in November would have to submit a petition with signatures from 5,000 registered voters from Beaufort County and file it with the Election Commission by July 15, according to county officials.

Each signature collected must be verified by the Beaufort County Board of Elections.

The position pays about $80,000 -- more than $19,000 from the state and the remaining $61,000 from Beaufort County, according to county officials.A county ordinance adopted in 2007 gives elected officials a 5 percent pay raise for earning reelection, in addition to the same cost-of-living allowance afforded all county employees.

The first woman elected Beaufort County Treasurer, Logan has not been challenged in a general election since first taking office in 1991 and has faced a primary opponent only once. Logan defeated former county administrator Michael O'Neill by about 1,500 votes in the 1990 Republican primary.

The amount of money handled by the treasurer has more than quadrupled since Logan first took office.

In 1991, the county took in about $21.7 million in property taxes, compared to more than $92.2 million in collections last year, according to David Starkey, the county's chief financial officer.

Logan has come under fire recently from Beaufort County Gary Kubic following the arrest May 12 of former Treasurer's Office employee Casaundra White, who is accused of embezzling more than $210,000 from public accounts. Kubic, who called for Logan's resignation, also accused the treasurer of trying to hire an employee without following county protocol and said she misrepresented herself as a certified public accountant for years on the county's website.

Logan said in a press conference Monday she will not resign.

Unless convicted of a crime, there are few options in state law to allow for any elected official -- other than governor -- to be removed from office.

State law does allow the governor to remove or suspend a county treasurer during a recess of the Senate if there is evidence to suggest that official is guilty of"misconduct in office, a crime or (is) incapable or legally disqualified to perform his duty."

A spokesman for Gov. Mark Sanford has said Sanford does not know enough about Logan to consider taking action.

There also is no state law allowing for a recall election of a public official.