Beaufort News

County treasurer-elect begins search for key employees

Beaufort County treasurer-elect Doug Henderson won't take office for more than five months, but the process of hiring his staff has begun.

Henderson is searching for key employees, and advertisements seeking candidates for a newly created chief financial officer position will appear in trade publications next week.

"I'm trying to find a CPA who would be beneficial to that department and who has prior experience handling governmental accounting," Henderson said.

The person would be responsible for "the accounting side of the Treasurer's Office" once Henderson takes over, he said.

Henderson, a former bank executive, ran as a petition candidate and ousted incumbent Joy Logan in November's general election. Logan has held the office since 1991.

Because Henderson has no official authority or budget until July, his transition staff will be on the county's payroll.

County administrator Gary Kubic said he doesn't know how he's going to pay for their compensation, but said it could cost $50,000 to $100,000.

"I think it's a wise investment," Kubic said. "It's a very practical, reasonable approach, because it's a $200 million enterprise."

Kubic said the new hires will spend time learning processes and computer systems. He added that an abrupt transition without such training could prove disruptive.

"The expectation that you can bring new people in and be able to deliver the kinds of services that the people require -- it won't work," Kubic said.

Henderson also will be looking at best practices in similar offices throughout the state.

Kubic has asked the county's Purchasing Department to research contracts for the office's banking and investment services, so Henderson can quickly put out bids for those services once he takes over.

"We're putting all this research together to help him makes those kinds of choices," Kubic said.

Henderson said he's not sure if the employees he hires will replace current Treasurer's Office staff.

"Basically I'm going to try to reorganize the department," Henderson said. "I don't know exactly how that reorganization is going to come out yet."

He said he has reviewed personnel files of current staff members.

But Henderson said he hasn't yet been able to visit the office to discuss matters with Logan.

Logan said she has been shorthanded and hasn't been able to focus on the transition.

"We're just trying to get through the holidays and the billings," Logan said.

She expects things to calm down in February or March and said she would sit down to work on the transition with Henderson then.

Logan came under fire after the May 12 arrest of former Treasurer's Office employee Casaundra White, accused of funneling more than $210,000 between September 2007 and May 2008 to dummy corporations she set up with her ex-boyfriend, Adrian Coore.

Later that month, Kubic called on Logan to resign, and County Council passed a resolution asking her to do the same. In June, an independent, largely critical audit of the Treasurer's Office was made public.