The right move

Published 9:54 am Thursday, July 30, 2009

By Staff
The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners know a good thing — rephrase that to an excellent thing — when it sees one.
That likely explains why the board approved a four-year contract to keep County Manager Paul Spruill on the job. That contract approval, which came Monday morning, includes an annual salary of $135,000, up from the $103,604 Spruill is receiving in the final year of his current contract, which expires Aug. 1.
Though some may believe an annual salary in excess of $100,000 is too high, we believe he’s worth every penny of his new contract. Since he become county manager in 2003, Spruill has had the best interests of Beaufort County in the forefront of his management of the county.
Want proof?
Recognizing the county is dealing with an economy that’s ailing and that county revenues are drying up because of that economy, Spruill requested that his new salary be delayed by nine months.
During his six years with the county, Spruill helped guide the county in its fight to keep the Navy from building an outlying landing field in the region. Spruill also was instrumental in helping form and lead a coalition of coastal counties in its fight against what they considered proposed stormwater-runoff regulations that were unfair to the coastal counties and likely would hamper development in those counties. That effort led to a compromise acceptable to the counties and state government.
And don’t forget Spruill was a vocal supporter for PCS Phosphate, the county’s largest taxpayer, during its struggle to obtain the needed permits that will allow it to expand its mining operation near Aurora.
Because of the leadership he’s provided and exhibited in his six years in Beaufort County, other local governments are interested in acquiring his services. Beaufort County’s commissioners are aware of that.
“We know that other local governments have been interested in him in the past, and we want to discourage him from looking,” Commissioner Hood Richardson said Monday.
Beaufort County residents can question several decisions made by the commissioners in recent years, but the decision to keep Spruill for another four years and increasing his pay were the right moves to make.
Beaufort County will be the better for it.