Council delays vote on hiking its pay

Vic Rawl was elected the new chairman of Charleston County Council on Thursday night. (file/staff)

A vote on the first pay raise for Charleston County Council in more than a decade was postponed Thursday night.

Councilman Vic Rawl suggested that the Council defer the vote until Councilman Henry Darby could be present at the next Finance Committee meeting on Aug. 21.

"I think Mr. Darby needs to be involved," Rawl said.

Darby is in China where he is teaching English, officials said.

Council, meeting as the Finance Committee, agreed with Rawl's motion.

The Council pay hike would boost the chairman's salary from $17,347 to $26,142. The pay for seven other Council members would rise from $14,352 to $20,738. The raises would kick-in on Jan. 1. As a retired circuit judge, Rawl does not receive a Council salary.

Under state law, Council pay raises become effective after the next General Election in which at least two Council members are elected. The pay raise takes effect for all Council members when the newly-elected Council members begin their terms.

Council members Herb Sass, Dickie Schweers, Teddie Pryor, Anna Johnson and Joe Qualey are running for re-election in November, although only Johnson has an opponent.

Other elected officials up for raises are: County Coroner, 15 percent to $101,405; Register Mesne Conveyance, 20 percent to $115,986; and the Clerk of Court, 13 percent to $119,710.

The pay hikes would make Charleston County Council members the second highest paid in the state in areas with a population of 200,000 or more.

Greenville County has the highest-paid council members in the state at $25,479. The council chairman there makes $30,575. At the bottom of the list, Saluda County pays its council members $6,000 annually, and the chairman receives $8,000 per year, according to the SCAC.