Elections

Room full of Hilton Head Republicans give county treasurer the cold shoulder

When the 150 or so people at a First Monday Republican Lunch Group meeting were asked Monday if they'd vote to re-elect embattled Beaufort County treasurer and fellow Republican Joy Logan in November, no one raised a hand.

"It doesn't surprise me at all," event organizer Tom Hatfield said after the meeting at Aunt Chiladas Easy Street Cafe on Hilton Head Island. "Everyone I've talked to privately said even though they don't know who all is running, they won't support Logan. She's refused to apologize or take any of the blame for anything that's happened."

Beaufort County Council passed a resolution last month calling for Logan to resign, and County Administrator Gary Kubic also urged her to step down. At Monday's meeting, state Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, echoed their criticisms.

"She's got to go," Davis said. "It's just time."

Davis said he personally likes Logan, but voters have reasons to question her competence. He said the Treasurer's Office doesn't have a system of checks and balances and has failed to implement reforms recommended by a 2005 audit.

Logan faces no opposition in today's Republican primary. In November, she could be joined on the ballot by several petition candidates.

Calls for Logan's resignation started after Casaundra White, a former Treasurer's Office employee, was indicted last month on charges of embezzling more than $210,000 of county money.

Logan, who was not at the lunch group meeting, said Monday she "absolutely, absolutely" will run for re-election this fall and is confident she'll win another term.

"I'm sorry for any mistakes I've made in the office, but we're all human and make mistakes," she said. "If we didn't make mistakes, pencils wouldn't need erasers."

Logan didn't divulge any specific mistakes when asked but talked at length about issues with a new software program in the Treasurer's Office.She said the past few weeks have been extremely painful. A lot of people have stopped by her office with encouragement and prayers, she said.

"I don't even read the paper anymore or deal with it," she said. "It's all politics and opinions. But I'm holding on strongly to my faith."

Doug Henderson, Jimmy Mackey and Mack Cook have said they're collecting signatures to try to get on the ballot. To appear as petition candidates, each needs signatures from 5 percent of the registered voters in the county -- about 5,000 people -- by July 15.

Henderson attended Monday's meeting and was corralled by about 10 people asking to help his campaign. A retired banker and former employee in the county Assessor's Office, Henderson criticized Logan's performance as "a continual mismanagement of money." He said he has collected about 500 signatures, and a network of volunteers is scouring the county for more.

"I'm in this for the right reason, and that's to put the county back on solid footing," he said. "Enough is enough."

Mackey, aprocurement technician for the Department of the Navy, said he wasn't sure how many signatures he had collected so far. "Even if I knew, I wouldn't be comfortable divulging that," he said.

Cook, comptroller for the city of Beaufort, was unavailable for comment.

Rachel Buie, chairwoman of the Beaufort County Republican Party, recognizes that Logan might be vulnerable.

"If someone wants to vote for a petition candidate, they're free to do that," she said."But she will be the general election candidate for the Republican Party. We don't have another option."

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