Beaufort News

Hardeeville loses third city manager in 3 years

Ted Felder
Ted Felder

Ted Felder, Hardeeville's third city manager since 2008, abruptly resigned Friday after a nearly two-hour City Council closed session.

Felder, who was hired in April, declined to comment Monday, and other city leaders shed little light on his resignation.

Finance director Dennis Averkin, the interim city manager, said he doesn't know why Felder resigned from the $90,000-a-year post.

He said the public might not find out because of a confidentiality clause in Felder's separation agreement, which Averkin expected to be signed this morning.

"I don't think we will ever know that," Averkin said.

Felder's resignation takes effect at 5 p.m. today. Felder had a two-year contract with the city with a six-month review.

The five-member council voted 3-1 to accept the resignation, with Mayor Bronco Bostick opposed. Mayor Pro Tem Mike Foskey, who walked out midway through the meeting, was absent for the vote.

Sherry Carroll and Sal Arzillo, newcomers to council, joined Councilman Roy Powell in voting to accept Felder's resignation. Powell cast the lone dissenting vote when council named Felder city manager. At the time, Bostick said Felder had "great support from the community."

Powell declined to say why Felder resigned but characterized the departure as "a mutual parting of ways."

"Evidently, the new council went another direction," he said.

Foskey said he left the meeting because he did not approve of the way council handled the issue and did not support accepting Felder's resignation.

Foskey said it was obvious a decision on Felder's job had been made prior to the meeting.

"Ted and his family love and support Hardeeville, and he had no intentions of leaving the city before the meeting," Foskey wrote in an e-mail.Carroll said she regrets Felder is leaving.

"I will miss his passion and excitement for the city of Hardeeville," Carroll said.

She declined to say why she voted to accept the resignation, only that Felder offered his resignation and she accepted it.

Arzillo could not be reached for comment Monday.

Felder has worked as a lobbyist in Columbia and as district director in the Beaufort office of U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson. He came to the city as economic development director in 2007 and was named interim city manager in November 2009 after Kevin Griffin resigned.

Griffin succeeded Shane Haynes, who had run the city for more than five years before resigning in 2008, Averkin said.

Averkin said Hardeeville staff will keep the southern Jasper County city running smoothly in Felder's absence.

"You've got some very good people in key positions that are running most of the day-to-day operation," Averkin said.

Foskey, however, worries the appearance of instability could jeopardize developers' confidence and Hardeeville's bond rating, which could affect how much the city pays to borrow money.

"This is bad timing," Foskey said. "A lot of things can be affected when you go through two city managers in two years."