Jeffcoat’s job was not new
Stambolitis voted for job, Jeffcoat and salary
Jeffcoat responsible for $4.85 million in funds for town projects
UPDATED 27 Feb: See below
L&M previously wrote about a letter to the South Carolina State Ethics Commission requesting an investigation of Lexington County Council Chairman Johnny Jeffcoat. After securing and researching information from the Town of Lexington, Lake and Main has determined that allegations by the secretive “People for a Better Lexington” are not true.
In the earlier article, we noted that PBL chose not to issue a formal complaint with the SCSEC because to do so would (1) require personal identification and (2) deny the group publicizing their charges.
It is our conclusion that the means by which PBL brought its complaint was to advance a political agenda by pretending formal procedures. The agenda appears to be to create a patina of corruption on Mr. Jeffcoat specifically and the Lexington County Council in general in this election cycle. The object being to defeat the coming referendum on a Council-proposed 1% sales tax to raise funds for road repairs in Lexington County.
Among the charges in the PBL letter to the Ethics Commission are:
“Improperly used his position as an elected official on County Council to secure high-paid employment for himself in the Town of Lexington. His specific employment position is the only one that exists in the Town of Lexington.”
“He has also secured the privilege of telecommuting, with this benefit of working from home being denied to other town employees.”
Lake and Main looked into these points and obtained responses from Mr. Britt Poole, Town Administrator.
Mr. Jeffcoat holds the title “Community & Economic Catalyst” for the Town of Lexington. Originally, the job was titled “Community/Corporate Coordinator” which Mr. Poole described as essentially a fundraising job. According to Mr. Poole, although there were “some very notable successes, overall we found that position was probably not sustainable for the long haul.”
The original position was not a standalone item but was part of the budget. The title and duties changed as a part of the FY 2009-2010 budget which was passed unanimously with all members of Council present.
The salary for the revised position – “Community & Economic Catalyst” – and Mr. Jeffcoat’s selection for it were also set unanimously by Town Council. The salary was roughly the same as that of the previous version of the job.
The unanimity of Mr. Jeffcoat’s hiring is of note because on the Council at the time, as now, is Mr. Ted Stambolitis. Mr. Stambolitis is an outspoken council member most recently aligned with anti-tax groups as the single dissenting vote on last year’s 2% Hospitality Tax.
Town Administrator Poole also provided L&M with a partial list of projects in which Mr. Jeffcoat was specifically involved in securing funding.
“I can explicitly identify $4.85 million dollars that we have acquired that without Johnny’s help I could not say for sure we would have been successful” wrote Mr. Poole.” [emphasis per originator]
Mr. Poole, who was not Administrator at the time of Mr. Jeffcoat’s hiring, noted that “just in the last few years, Johnny Jeffcoat has been invaluable in securing funding in the following. This list is not complete and only reflects a few recent years.”
- $4.1 million in guide share funding through the [Council of Governments] for the Adaptive Signalization project
- $600,000 for the Adaptive Signalization project
- $50,000 for the takeover and rebuilding of Elise Ave
- $100,000 for necessary road work in the Willowbrook subdivision
Given the Town Administrator’s own calculation of just recent contributions by Mr. Jeffcoat (roughly $693 million/year), his hiring appears to have been a very good investment.
UPDATE: Administrator Poole also had the following to say about Mr. Jeffcoat’s contributions to the Town of Lexington:
Johnny has functioned as a liaison for business looking to locate or expand in the Town. Examples include: the Blowfish HQ in Downtown Lexington. Avtec and the construction of the technology park on SC 6, as well as many other locations throughout Town. There is hardly an example of a commercial project that he was not someway involved in for the benefit of the Town and the business.
Of course, I would be remiss if I did not point out his work on Vision Plan going all the way back to the beginnings of that process.
The PBL also alleges:
It is known in the town that Councilman Jeffcoat rarely goes to the office, usually once every two to three weeks. It is believed that he secured the benefit of working from home due to his position as an elected official on County Council.
According to Town employees, this accusation simply is not true. In fact, even as Mr. Jeffcoat is enduring a serious illness in his family, he has been encouraged NOT to come in as often as he does.
In the next installment, L&M will break down Mr. Jeffcoat’s salary history and the PBL’s allegation that “Less than one year later in 2011, Councilman Jeffcoat secured a $51,811 annual pay increase.”