More than seven weeks after Charleston County Council first decided the salaries of top employees should be disclosed by name on the county's website, the county on Friday posted the information.
Also Friday, the county fulfilled a more than seven-week-old public information request from The Post and Courier for salaries of all county employees.
Charleston County now has posted the salaries of the 435 employees who earn $50,000 or more. Postandcourier.com has published what the county pays all 2,676 employees.
The county's decision to post at least some salary information, as a step toward greater budget transparency, follows similar steps taken years ago by the state government. Some local South Carolina governments have gone another step, such as the city of Charleston, which posted all of its employee pay information online in March, a week after the initial County Council decision.
The county and the city, like many local governments, now also post online their budgets, monthly expenses, and annual audits.
County Councilman Paul Thurmond, who is running for Congress, first proposed that the county put salary information on the county's website. Some council members had concerns about his plan, and the council eventually decided to only post the salaries of those earning $50,000 or more, as the state government does.
The council also decided to let the elected officials who run some county offices decide whether to opt out of the public disclosure. None of them did, but when The Post and Courier posted some of the county's salary information online in March, there was a backlash against the county administration for releasing the information promptly.
The newspaper had requested all of the county's salary information, which it did not receive until Friday, but the newspaper was promptly given partial salary information March 12, and it was the release of that public information that prompted what County Council members have said were complaints from other elected officials.
Council Chairman Teddie Pryor said April 1 that he personally directed County Administrator Allen O'Neal to not immediately fulfill the newspaper's request for the remaining salary information.
"We had elected officials upset because they felt they weren't notified when they released the information (in March)," Pryor said last week. "They felt they weren't warned fairly, in time to warn their employees."
To learn just how upset the elected officials were, and why, The Post and Courier has requested all of the correspondence and e-mails to and from the county administrator and public information officer on that subject.
The county has said the disclosure of salary information has resulted in questions from some employees about what they are paid relative to co-workers.
The county is considering conducting a salary review in response.
Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.