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BAMBERG -- Bamberg County Administrator Joey R. Preston has signed a contract to continue running the county's day-to-day operations.

The county had paid Preston’s company, Anderson-based Preston Consulting LLC, to provide administrative services for the county since October 2012.

The new contract, however, stipulates that Preston will serve as a county employee. The contract agreement was made July 1, 2019, but wasn't signed by Preston until Sept. 4.

The T&D received a copy of the contract following a regularly scheduled council meeting on Oct. 7.

The one-year contract includes a base salary of $130,711.10. Under the contract, Preston will be entitled to county benefits as he chooses, including, but not limited to, life insurance, pension accrual or payments, vacation pay, sick pay, employee salary increases and employ grievance rights.

Under the contract, the county will purchase and maintain general liability insurance covering all county employees, including the administrator.

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The contract states that there will be "no number of minimum hours set" for the administrator to perform his duties and that he will keep his own retiree health insurance, which is estimated to be $8,000 less per year than what he would have received through the county.

The county has also agreed to pay for an insurance policy providing 24-hour coverage for occupational as well as total and permanent disability income benefits for the administrator.

The administrator will be reimbursed for all budgeted expenses related to cell phone use and "other routine and miscellaneous business and travel expenses" incurred while performing administrative duties.

He is also entitled to all cost-of-living increases that council may grant to its other employees, in addition to any merit increases he may receive for his performance.

The contract states that nothing in the agreement prevents or limits the right of the council to terminate the services of the administrator at any time. Also, Preston can resign at any time from his position.

The contract is for one year. It will be extended another year in the event that written notice of intent to terminate the contract by either party is not given to the other at least 90 days prior to July 1.

Preston has 21 years of experience in public service, including 19 years as a county administrator in Cherokee and Anderson counties.

Council first approved entering into a contract with Preston by a 5-2 vote during a special called meeting on June 27.

Councilmen Trent Kinard, Joe Guess Jr., Evert Comer Jr., Larry Haynes and the Rev. Isaiah Odom voted to approve the contract. Sharon Hammond and Clint Carter voted against it.

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Contact the writer: dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5534. Follow "Good News with Gleaton" on Twitter at @DionneTandD.

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