Peagler calls letter about Hehn ‘false’

Marc Hehn

MONCKS CORNER — More than a year after documents surfaced alleging that a Berkeley County administrator was forced out in 2005, Supervisor Bill Peagler said the documents are false and their release was intended to harm and embarrass one of his top aides.

As council reached the end of its Monday meeting, Peagler read a prepared statement regarding current county manager of Special Projects Marc Hehn.

When Peagler took office in January 2015, he named Marc Hehn as deputy supervisor for operations. Hehn was Moncks Corner town administrator for eight years while Peagler was mayor.

Shortly afterward, copies of a July 8, 2005 termination letter to Hehn, signed by then-Supervisor Jim Rozier, turned up. The letter cites Hehn’s management style as director of the county Water and Sanitation Authority, complaints from staff and a lack of trust in Hehn as reasons for his termination effective immediately.

In a resignation-retirement agreement signed by Hehn and Rozier four days later, Hehn “waives all claims and rights to any past, present, or future position of employment with the County, and agrees not to apply for employment with the County in the future.”

Last year, Rozier said he had not seen the documents since he left office in 2006.

At the end of council’s Monday meeting, Peagler read a statement saying, “It has come to my attention that a false document regarding Mr. Hehn was taken out of the county files and provided to the press in January of last year. The publication of this false document was intended to harm and embarrass Mr. Hehn.”

The letter was never given to Hehn, Peagler said.

Another letter in Hehn’s personnel file, signed by Rozier, says Hehn “has been instrumental in the positive growth of our wastewater system and our county” and that Rozier would recommend him to future employers.

“The county regrets that this document containing false information was put in Mr. Hehn’s personnel file without his knowledge and then emailed to persons inferring it contained correct information,” Peagler said. “On behalf of the county, I offer my sincerest apologies to Mr. Hehn and I want the public to know that Mr. Hehn ended his employment with the county in 2005 on amicable terms.

“Any statements to the contrary are false and we regret the harm that this has caused.”

Peagler said the county will continue to investigate “who is responsible for this regrettable action.”

On Tuesday, Peagler declined further comment, saying, “The statement and apology on behalf of the county speaks for itself.”

Hehn did not return phone calls seeking comment.

In September, after a 90-minute closed session to discuss “employment, demotion, discipline or release of an employee,” council voted to eliminate the position held by Hehn. Peagler was not at that meeting.

Hehn was then named the county’s manager of Special Projects, a newly created job that reports directly to Peagler.

At the time, council also voted to have its finance committee determine Hehn’s salary. The committee has not taken action and on Tuesday, county spokesman Michael Mule said Hehn still draws the same $106,658 salary he received as deputy supervisor.