County says goodbye to longtime employees

Published 8:18 pm Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sharon “JoJo” Singleton William Mayo Sr.

Sharon “JoJo” Singleton
William Mayo Sr.

Change is in the air for Beaufort County, as Monday’s Board of Commissioners meeting was the last for several people who’ve been embedded in county administration for many years.

County Attorney Billy Mayo and County Clerk Sharon “JoJo” Singleton have long been a repository for Beaufort County history. Both will retire this month after many years of service to the county.

Early into Monday’s meeting, Board of Commissioners Chairman Jerry Langley made a point of recognizing Mayo’s and Singleton’s service, describing both as the type of people who, no matter how busy, would stop and help with a smile.

“It’s been a wonderful experience for me, all this time, and I really appreciate the recognition,” Mayo said Monday night.

Mayo, known as “the dean of the Beaufort County Bar Association,” has served as county attorney for 46 of the 62 years he’s been practicing law, taking on the role before the days of limited voting. Back then, the county was divided into five districts and it was Washington voters who complained they were underrepresented — the opposite of more recent complaints.

“It’s changed quite a bit,” Mayo said. “And that’s been a good thing. Back before this limited voting, we never had a Black commissioner.”

Also good, in Mayo’s opinion, was the election of Frankie Waters and Ron Buzzeo to the Board on Tuesday. Both represent — now underrepresented — areas of the county outside of Washington.

His words of advice for the newly elected commissioners: “I would urge them to try to do a lot of appeasement and work together as much as they can. I really think with the new board coming in, I’m thinking we’ll have some good things happening.”

Mayo will continue practicing law with his son, Will Mayo, but at 88 years old, plans to take on a smaller role.

“I say, ‘Will, I’ll be your paralegal. I’ll run to the post office and sort your mail.,’” Mayo laughed. “That’s all I want to do.”

Mayo had high praise for his county clerk colleague Singleton.

“She has been a workhorse. She’s done a great job,” Mayo said. “She’s going to be missed.”

As secretary, administrative assistant, assistant county manager and county clerk, Singleton has spent the last 30 years keeping the county administration in line.

“She has been the official greeter and face of Beaufort County for over 30 years,” Langley said Monday. Langley went on to describe Singleton as professional, accessible, responsible, diligent and hardworking.

In a statement read aloud to those at Monday’s meeting, Singleton, who has lived in Beaufort County her entire life, said she had worked almost that long — since she was a young child — on her grandfather’s farm, and added that she was both excited and nervous about the prospect of retirement. She referred to having sat through her share of “pretty colorful meetings” but thanked the commissioners and staff for giving her the opportunity to be there.

“I hope I have served you and the citizens of this county well,” Singleton said.