Politics & Government

Interim Beaufort Co. Administrator Josh Gruber takes Hilton Head Island job

Interim Beaufort County Administrator Josh Gruber gives a presentation in this file photo.
Interim Beaufort County Administrator Josh Gruber gives a presentation in this file photo.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to accurately reflect Josh Gruber’s role with Beaufort County in 2016. He was deputy county administrator that year, and made $125,000.

Interim Beaufort County Administrator Josh Gruber has a new job with Hilton Head Island.

Gruber has accepted the job of Hilton Head assistant town manager, according to Hilton Head Island Town Council member and current mayoral candidate John McCann.

Two voice mails and an email left with Gruber on Monday afternoon were not immediately returned.

McCann said he found out Monday from Hilton Head Island Town Manager Steve Riley.

Riley said the decision to hire Gruber was made in the last few days.

The move comes as Beaufort County Council searches for a permanent hire to fill the county administrator role previously held by Gary Kubic, who stepped down in September.

In early April, Gruber told The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette that he was not searching for other jobs and was applying once more for the county administrator position.

Riley said he reached out to Gruber later in April about taking the position. He originally reached out last year, but Gruber said he was not interested, Riley said.

Beaufort County Councilman Mike Covert said he’d spoken personally with Gruber who said “he was taking a position with the town of Hilton Head as a direct report to Steve Riley” and had already submitted his letter of resignation to the county.

Beaufort County Councilman Rick Caporale said he heard of the hiring from a fellow council member and several other people.

Gruber was Kubic’s handpicked successor, and he led the county through severe weather events such as Hurricane Matthew and Tropical Storm Irma.

Gruber has twice been a candidate to fill the administrator role permanently, but the first search in 2017 failed to produce a hire, and a current search hasn’t yet finished.

As deputy administrator, Gruber made roughly $125,000 in 2016, according to county records.

In his new role, he’ll be making $152,000, according to Riley.

Former Hilton Head assistant town manager Greg DeLoach made $161,437 in base-pay salary in the role in 2017, according to town records.

Gruber was hired after a five-month nationwide search, according to a news release from the Town of Hilton Head. There were more than 130 applicants for the job, the release said.

DeLoach, who announced his retirement last year, has agreed to stay in his role until Gruber starts, tentatively, on Aug. 6, according to Riley.

Gruber’s new duties will include overseeing departments that deal with everything from town finances to municipal court, as well as public information. He will also serve as the town’s liaison to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, the release said.

In 2011, Gruber began his tenure with the county, first working as a county attorney, according to the release. He was promoted to deputy county administrator and special counsel in 2014. He was named interim administrator in 2017.

“I’m excited about it,” Riley said. “Josh already knows the community and a lot of the issues ... . It lets him hit the ground running.”

This story will be updated.