Politics & Government

County narrows down the search for administrator. But when will it announce a hire?

The search for a new Beaufort County administrator soon could be coming to a close as the list of candidates has been narrowed down from 71 applicants to six.

Interim administrator John Weaver announced to Beaufort County Council Monday night that a hiring firm based in Chicago visited the county last Wednesday and presented them with a list of 10 names before eventually narrowing that number down to six to be interviewed for the position.

“We don’t have a time set up for interviews or how many there will be yet,” Weaver said Tuesday. “Hopefully we will be able to conclude that before the month’s end.”

When asked for the names of the six finalists, Weaver declined to provide them but added that he would be in touch with the newspaper when the candidates were further narrowed down to three.

The goal, he added, is to offer a candidate the position before the county’s March 14 and 15 strategic planning retreat.

The position has been in flux over a year after former administrator Gary Kubic announced his retirement in September 2017. Josh Gruber, formerly Kubic’s deputy administrator, was named interim administrator before he left in July for a position as Hilton head Island’s assistant town manager.

Tom Keaveny — formerly on Gruber’s staff as county attorney — then became interim county administrator July 23.

In October, Keaveny stepped down as interim administrator after County Council members voted to investigate the legality of his decision to award a consulting contract to Gruber for $24,000 from Aug. 6 to Oct. 8, with options for 30-day extensions at $12,000 apiece.

County Council voted to hire an outside lawyer to investigate the contract, but the status of that investigation was not discussed in open council Monday.

Caitlin Turner is the retail and business reporter for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette. She has worked in the news industry for five years in both Ohio and South Carolina and loves the Lowcountry life.