South Congaree on the mend after resignations, SLED probe - - Columbia, South Carolina |

South Congaree on the mend after resignations, SLED probe

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It wasn't long ago South Congaree found themselves at the center of a SLED investigation and a short time later, the town administrator, the mayor, police chief, and a council member would all resign, since then they've made some changes.

"We'll be in charge of the hiring and firing," said Mayor Pro-Tempore Lila Gantt. "We will be monitoring the financials very closely, and we will be authorizing any expenditures."

That's not all South Congaree council has changed. Council won't hire a new town administrator, instead opting for a municipal clerk who reports to council. They have 36 applicants.

"It basically takes all of the responsibility off of that one person and gives it back to council," said Gantt.

Council has also hired Police Chief Josh Shumpert.

"He's very energetic, he's very community-oriented," said Gantt.

"As law enforcement, we have a job to do, but part of that job can be if you see someone in the neighborhoods or if you see someone on the street stop and say hey, just take that extra second and roll your window down and say hey to somebody," said Shumpert.

The Department is starting a new effort with Congaree Elementary for a school resource officer several times a week and new cameras and laptops for their patrol cars.

"The officers now are having to download DVDs from VHS," said Shumpert. "It just takes a lot of time, lot of time to do that type of stuff, so to free up time."

Some changes are still barking up council's consideration list. When Melisha Shumpert and Jason Amodio resigned, they were entitled to vacation time and sick time accrued, hundreds of banked hours grand-fathered in amounting to over $18,000 for Shumpert and $22,000 for Amodio, paid out the day they left. Council is questioning if the amounts are correct with an audit.

"Now there is an limit on how vacation is accrued and we're also looking to change the policy too as to when they can be paid out," said Gantt. "If they leave today, they're going to have to wait a while."

These are all seen as positive changes as the town prepares to elect a new council member and mayor.

"We will be happy to get everyone back and just move on and get settled in and get our new municipal clerk in place," said Gantt.

The town heads to the polls to elect a new mayor and council member just next week on Aug. 27.

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