Beaufort County Council voted in June 2021 to place the issue of changing the County's form of government

— which, if approved, would give the council power to appoint the County’s Treasurer and Auditor —

on the November 2, 2021 ballot. 

The question will ask Beaufort County voters whether they approve of changing the government structure from council-administrator to council-manager, effectively giving the County power to make the Auditor and Treasurer non-elected positions. Under the current form, the Treasurer and Auditor are elected by voters and serve four-year terms.

The four forms of County government available in South Carolina are the council form, council-supervisor form, council-administrator form, and council-manager form. To date, 32 Counties use the administrator form, five the supervisor form, seven the council form, and two the manager form. There are some important differences between the various forms of county government.

(Current Form)

11 Council members are elected for four-year terms of office.

The Treasurer and Auditor are elected to four-year terms of office and are independent of the Council and the County Administrator.

The administrator is an appointed official employed by the council who is the county government administrative head responsible for administration in all departments subject to the council's control.

The council may employ the administrator for a definite term or not, at its discretion.

Should the council decide to terminate the administrator, he shall be given a written statement of the reasons for termination and has the right to a public hearing at a council meeting.

The administrator is specifically directed by law to inform the council of anticipated revenues and the amount of tax revenue required to meet the financial requirements of the county when he presents proposed operating and capital budgets to the council.

The administrator has no authority over any elected officials of the county whose offices were created by the state Constitution or laws, except applying general organizational policies adopted by the council.

(Proposed Form)

11 Council members are elected for four-year terms of office.

Treasurer and Auditor may be appointed by the county council rather than elected.

The council must determine the method of selection and, if the appointive status is preferred, must pass an ordinance to that effect.

Once made appointive officers, the Auditor and Treasurer are subject to control by the council and the manager in the same manner as other appointed department heads of the county.

The County Manager is an appointed official who reports to the county council. His powers and duties are identical to those of the county administrator discussed above.

Similar restrictions apply in the manager form regarding the council's powers over elected officials as in the other forms of county government.