Charleston County Council declined to raise the pay of three county officials Thursday and ducked the question of raising the pay of council members, by removing that issue from the council's agenda.
"I felt, and some council members felt, that this wasn't an appropriate time, so we took that (council pay raise item) off the agenda," said Council Chairman Teddie Pryor, whose pay was proposed to rise on Jan. 1, if he were re-elected, from $17,347 to $26,142.
Pryor also is a full-time city of North Charleston employee.
Other council members' pay would have increased from $14,352 to $20,738, under the plan. That would have made them the second-highest-paid in the state among large counties, after Greenville.
The council did vote on recommended pay raises for the county coroner, clerk of court, and register mesne conveyance, or recorder of deeds, rejecting that plan on a 6-3 vote. The raises were supported by Pryor, Vice Chairman Elliott Summey and Councilman Henry Darby.
Opponents questioned the rationale for the raises, as well as a 1995 county policy under which elected officials get 5 percent pay increases if they are re-elected to office.
"I think the origin of (the proposed raises) was, they came to us and said 'I want more money'," said Councilman Joe Qualey. "These (raises) seem excessive, and don't have any backup."
Now, the county plans to conduct a study to see what countywide officeholders are paid elsewhere. The rejected pay plan would have meant a $19,594 raise for the recorder of deeds, $14,006 for the clerk of court, and $13,665 for the coroner. Those officeholders are currently paid $97,968, $107,280, and $89,315, respectively.
"I can't support it until I know why these numbers make sense," Councilwoman Colleen Condon said, prior to the vote.
The proposals came from a salary review by consulting group Evergreen Solutions, which resulted in a new pay plan for the county employees that goes into effect on Oct. 3.
In other business Thursday, the council agreed to discuss the county's relationship with, and funding of, the Charleston Regional Development Alliance at a meeting Tuesday. The county is exploring an economic development plan for its property at 995 Morrison Drive in Charleston.
The County Council spent much of its meeting Thursday behind closed doors, discussing those two issues.
Reach David Slade at 937-5552
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