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Beaufort County SC

Let Ashley Jacobs Work

Beaufort County Council’s decision Tuesday, Oct. 13, to fire County Administrator Ashley Jacobs, the county’s first woman administrator, was wrong and yet another example of Council members serving their own interests and not the interests of citizens. 

When Jacobs walks out that door, Beaufort County can say good-bye to integrity and accountability and welcome back the cronyism, secrecy, patronage and disorder that Jacobs was working (against the odds) to dismantle. 

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Concerned Citizens (and growing)

 We the citizens of Beaufort County have a problem on our hands. 

It’s clear that Paul Sommerville and Stu Rodman, who thrive when there is no one at the top, wanted Jacobs out of the way so they can return to the shadowy administrative chaos that better suits their political needs. 

It is clear that Chairman Joe Passiment is easily led and fooled by the nefarious machinations happening right in front of him every single day. 

It is clear that some Council members have been putting more energy into meddling with operations, encouraging strife and creating unnecessary fear and tensions among government staff than they have been putting into the commission of their actual elected duty, which is to legislate and create policy. 

If we don’t step up now and let our voices be heard, our county — with its diverse, sophisticated and ever-growing needs — will continue to be run by legislators who routinely violate their own ordinances and act outside the normal public process of governance. 

This council spends too much time worrying about how they look and not enough time learning how to be a functional and effective legislative body.

We have allowed them to indulge in their political games for far too long. 

It has resulted in sickening amounts of taxpayer money spent on avoidable lawsuits, egregious and expensive delays, as well as questionable and lucrative contracts that benefit the vendor more than the county. 

It is hampering progress that could affect generations to come.

Most disturbingly, the Beaufort County Council has created an unsafe working environment for women. When Beaufort County Treasurer Maria Walls sought a reasonable solution to the ongoing harassment and stalking she experienced by Beaufort County Auditor Jim Beckert, Jacobs was one of the only people in the county who supported her. The Council continue to do nothing despite the objections of their own County Administrator, whose experience far outweighs their own.

Thanks to repeated news coverage, we now know that Beckert has a history of abusive behavior toward women. We also now know these complaints continued since 2014 and were made to the entirety of Beaufort County Council, as well as the former County Administrators Gary Kubic and former Interim County Administrator Josh Gruber. By not not taking action against Beckert, the Council is simultaneously costing taxpayers money with inevitable lawsuits and sending a message that the women in our community don’t matter. 

What’s it going to take for the Beaufort County Council to believe and respect women leaders?

The only reason certain members of the Council want Ashley Jacobs gone is because she holds them accountable. Most recently, the Council tried to hire their own Public Information Officer (PIO), a “public relations specialist,” to spin stories with the local media because they’re fed up with their own bad press. This would be a new position that would report to the Council, not the administration. In other words, Council’s PIO would not have any accountability outside of their own 11-member Council.

The citizens of Beaufort County should not have to pay for the Council’s public cover-up while they try to operate without full public transparency. Certain Council members worked behind Ashley Jacobs’  back to hire her own communications manager for this position, which is inappropriate and potentially illegal. Yet, the Council blames Ashley Jacobs for the resulting and avoidable press debacle when their preferred candidate’s racist and violent Twitter feed was made public by The Island Packet. 

Sadly, this is only one example of how certain Council members assert their influence in the ongoing operations of the County and undermine the job of their own County Administrator.. 

Certain Council members repeatedly and purposefully place Ashley Jacobs in a negative light to distract from their own “bad press,” much of it stemming from issues that pre-existed her short tenure here. 

These same members have encouraged and behind the scenes have contributed to a false narrative in motion that Jacobs is the culprit behind the toxic work environment that they themselves created. 

The news coverage on Jacobs’ leadership recklessly played into their hands and relied on sources who have a bone to pick and an agenda to help carry out. 

That agenda? To convince Jacobs’ supporters on Council that she is a problem.  Stu Rodman and Paul Sommerville have called into question Ashley Jacobs position for more than a year. However, the Council has never conducted an inquiry or an investigation — which is the normal process when troubling allegations come to light. Why is that?

While Ashley Jacobs worked to fix a badly broken system with chronic personnel issues and outmoded  and inefficient practices and while she managed 11 bosses, who each have their own demands, needs and motivations, she was fighting for our community. 

Here’s how we know this. In just over a year:

  • Ashley Jacobs created a central cashier’s system for the entire County to ensure efficiency and transparency in spending.
  • Ashley Jacobs created the County’s first budget book, giving comprehensive look at how our County plans to spend taxpayer money in the upcoming fiscal year.
  • Ashley Jacobs found $1 million in the budget for jobs that weren’t filled. This money was being allocated without purpose and without accountability.
  • Ashley Jacobs instituted paid sick leave for the first time for County employees and was working on a paternity leave policy. 
  • Ashley Jacobs secured fair pay for the special needs adults who for years had been cleaning County buildings for less than minimum wage.
  • Ashley Jacobs completed a compensation study to ensure that people are being paid what they’re supposed to be. In short, this study sets salaries so that people are paid equitably and fairly without being attached to sex, race, political affiliations and patronage. Acting against their own compensation study, the Council raised their own salaries during the pandemic despite Ashley Jacobs’ objections. 
  • Ashley Jacobs enacted a facility study to see what could be done to operate more energy efficient and to save money.
  • Ashley Jacobs was reviving the delayed Penny Sales Tax Referendum projects, which were left ignored by the former Director of Environmental Engineering and Land Management, who is now suing her.  
  • Ashley Jacobs managed the County during COVID-19, making tough decisions on closures, mask mandates and safety for more than 1,000 employees.
  • Ashley Jacobs dealt with lawsuits against the County that were filed long before she arrived. 
  • Ashley Jacobs created a diverse leadership team that reflected the integrity and passion for our community.
  • Ashley Jacobs implemented security measures to protect the County’s expensive assets, including GPS devices to equipment. 
  • Ashley Jacobs demanded the shadow government end. 

Accountability with our local government is vital for everyone in this county. While national  politics are contentious and divisive, the Lowcountry deserves the right to trust our local government to operate for what’s in the best interest of the community. Unfortunately, the Beaufort County Council lacks the integrity that we deserve. Instead, their reckless and unethical behavior has gone unchecked for too long. 

The Lowcountry is unlike any other place in the United States because people here are motivated by purpose. We love our home because our people strive to do the right thing. 

That’s not what’s happening in Beaufort County government.

Therefore we demand measures be put into place that prohibit the Council from interfering with county administration, staff and day-to-day operations.

We demand the Council focus on the best interests of their constituents and to serve the community openly and with integrity. No more secrecy. No more scripting. No more games. 

We demand accountability. 

We demand that Council let Ashley Jacobs work.

Signed,

Heather Bragg
David Moses
Lucy Rosen
Mary Agnes Garman
Dot Law
Susan Huisman
Michael Bragg
Kelly Housaman
Marian Sanders
Mary Ann Burgeson
Kristina Rabe
Meg James
Leslie Richards
Tony Cambria
Jodie Srutek
Diederik Advocaat
Linda Klingman
Jenifer Di Benedetto
Justin Jarrett
Lisa Allen
Sarah Clemmons
Amber Vanloh Faust
Cappi Wilborn
Charles Jenkins
Joey Mobley
Randolph Rigby
Darion Allen
JoAnne Gatti-Petito
Rick Caporale
Steve Fobes
Kyle Davenport
Michael Hervochon
Leilani Bessinger
Brooke Pacheco
Pam Tritschler
Amanda Mingard
Joe Mac
Janice Billingslea
John Trask
Mare Deckard
Sam Levin
Julian Levin
Caren Ross
George McLaughlin
Barbara Lara
Caylor Romines
Amanda Rosenberry
Richard O’Hara
Patricia Anne Denkler
Mary Ellen Keough
JD Silvey
Nicole Hill
Maryellen Butare
Paul Butare
Ashley Rhodes
Allie Edenfield
Scott Hansen
Heather Kellerman
Caroline Dolbey
Fred Hamilton
Karen Glisson
Kristina Moran
Charmian Hedrick
Jennifer Leblang
Perry Dukes
Frances Tuttle
Jeanne Antonuccio
Warren Chapman
Denise Woods
Amy Howard
Beverly Whitaker
Margaret Brooks
Janet Law
Philip Ray
Lauren Tebeau
Brenda Brandt
Jennifer Walter
Janet Balmaceda
Martin Lesch
Sheila Farrell
Greg Ney
Corbin Atkinson
Linda Farrenkopf
Marlo Griffith
Lindsay Tuten
Cecile Bibaud
Katie Kabala
Kimberly Gose
Ann-Marie Adams
Edwina Dunlap
Deborah Black
Robert Dunlap
John Gose
Larry Gunn
Sheila Ferguson
Beverly Crylen
Susan DeFoe
Bill Ballard
Roberta McDonald
Robert Crylen
Beverly Crylen
Maryanne Payne
Edward Gruel
Jillian Riley
Carolyn Kostylo
Nancy Dukes
Amanda Matney
Steve French
Donna Schroeder
Carolyn Smith
Dana Kindel Advocaat
Crystal DeRosia-Kaznowski
Yvonne Robinson
Annette Matney
John Dreyer
Jody French
Gabriela Gonzalez
Allison Bonner
Mitchell Siegel
Deborah Boyd
Joyce Banks
Gary Matney
Ian Leslie
Nichole Henne
Ed Duryea
Kathleen Campbell
Cindy Duryea
Susan Flynn
Fontaine Swope
Roland Windham, Jr.
LaShay DuPont
Paddi Bailey
Medena Allen
Sheila Ferguson
Erin Dean
Amanda Walrad
Judith Lewis
Gray Smith
Pamela Bars
Jean Norris
Haley Lisk Romeo
Jamie Bradley
Megan Kitty
Emily Rietveld
Blaine Mullis
Susan Dykes
Jessica Knight
C.C. Pupek
Rex Gale
Rick Garman
Constance Glass
Dale Glass
Modes Young
Kimberly McNab
Lynne Hummell
Alan Flowers
William Shouse
Doris Eschenbach
Chris Short
Mike Brunson
Grace Dennis
Paul Steele
Diana Steele
Sharon Lowe
Joe Ler
Bonnie Miller
Victoria Maloney Crocker
James Boswell
Thomas Cooper
Amber Bryson
Martie Collins
Katherine Pringle
Edward Crusie
Mia Hughey
Louise Novy
Ruth Adelson
Theresa Graves
Jason True
Xiomara Ingram
Eva Sutherland
Andrea Smith
Ben Smith
Mike Gleason
Bonna Keckley
Anna Pinckney Graham
Kelly McMahan
Mark Hall
John Hicks
Lisa Pope
Carl Holm
Sandra O’Connell
Mary Rich
Elizabeth Brock
Dafina Ward
Jill Striebinger
Melissa Chambers
Becky Broene
Christine deVries
Meghan Kaufman
Donna Fonseca
Kathleen Pinckney
Jim Morrison
Anne Heles
Tara Cooler
Linda Kearns
Lauren Bechtold
Michael Bogle
Kirk O’Leary
Courtney Worrell
Vallee Bubak
Lily Herndon Weaks
Kris Ruffner
Iris Shedlock
Claudia Cebollero
Greg Wire
Amber Gibson
Meg Bakey
Tony Gibson
James Murphy
Michael Buxser
Danielle Young
Yvette Cooper
Samantha Caster
Sarah Urena
ED Finison
Samantha Gibson
Michelle Olesh
Jane Jude
Brittany Devlin
Dorsey St Clair
Jason Brahm
Donna Farrell
Michael Doran
Sarah Mason
Julius Parrella
Barbara Plank
Linda Murphy
Jason Meyer
Walter Garfield III
Debbie Youmans
Jonathan Sullivan
Raymond Duxbury
Melissa Cooney
Tim Newman
Dremah Finison
Martha Anne McDonald
Melissa Charleston
Brittany Parris
Steven Baer
Joyce Kreis
JM Hall
Janet Law
Trisha Argetsinger
Robert McDonald
Heidi Garrity
Sean Rye
Justin Olds
Bill Fletcher
Mary Powell
Don Gilbert
Nikole Sullivan
David Harris
Michael Mayers
Elizabeth Lewis
Kelly Bouthillet
Shari Meany
Joyce Orndoff
Linda Hyslop
Stuart Fox
Jeanne Harrison
Malcolm Maclennan
Maura Shatz
Frank Sibilly
Nancy Walmsley
Judy Shaffer
Angela Patricia Pedraza
Christel Kronenberg
Sj Dutcher
Karen Shea
Caroline Brenner
Lauren Davis
Jane Fisher
Brett Johnson
Johnnie Garrett
Jill Warga
Pamela Filippone
Elizabeth Barber
Linda Coe
Kathy Gallagher
Scott Youmans
Nikki Duggan
Amy Hinton
Miranda Shipman
Jill Hicks
Jim Webb
Jack Matthews
Josephina Qualiana
Brooke Pacheco
Tara Anderson
David McFee
Marcos Farr
Jennifer Baker
Finian Taylor
Michelle Torre
Sharrie Reardon
Karen Majerczak
Joan Lemoine
Julia Buzzard
Suzanne Ramsden
Scott Williams
Debra Hutton
Gary Abbott
Sherrie Smith
Jeffrey Smith
Martha Lake
David Buzzard
Joann Wojtecki
Cheri Parlagreco
Craig Molloy
Susan Watson
Hubert Lontz
Landon Collins
Michelle Blakley
James Coleman
Frank Eisenhart
Joan Petrucci
Claudia Kennedy
Teresa Lewis
Carolyn Cote
Marc Chary
Nancy Fish
Tresa Klock
Catherine Rubery
Nicole Rattacasa
Sharon Harvey
Catherine Brown
Tim Wood
Kimberly Gray
Louise Murray
Debra Edwards
Katherine Whitton-Grzanka
Donna Belmonte
Jennifer Rinella
Antonia Glick
Valerie Ford
Mary Kay Hoffmeister
Dax Burt
Tammy Sutton
Robert Sutton
Denise Stoughton
Nicole Bentley
Ben Banks
John Ireland
April Van Name
Willam McGrath
Tammy Olmsteaf
Kathy Peters
Angela Hammond
Caroline Tolbert
Betsy Sherman
William Shouse Jr
Amy Whittington
Ivette Burgess
Terri Epps
Sally Sinclair
Carol Morrissey
Cheryl Marlowe
Eric Somerville
Virginia Teed
Grace Dennis
Kimberly Madeja
Cynthia Jenkins
Kate Hines
Elizabeth Bowen
Sherike Bennett
Jennifer Calcorzi
Michael Heaney
Heather Seng
Doreen Patenaude
Robert Austen
Susan Graber
Donna Bradley
Sharon Harvey
Cynthia Spano
Benjamin Dunbar
Lise Sundrla
Jennifer Nelson
Shawn Evans
Joseph Pampel
Julie Gordon
Carol Weir
Marty Bumgarner
John Coughlin

… a growing group of concerned citizens

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