The Laurens County Council emerged Tuesday night from executive session and voted 4-3 to terminate the contract of County Administrator Jon Caime.
Caime, who began work as administrator in April of 2016, has been on paid leave since March 9 for unspecified reasons.
Council Chairman Brown Patterson was among those who voted to dismiss Caime, but said the decision to move on was a difficult one.
“I appreciate all he has done for Laurens County and wish him well in future endeavors,” Patterson wrote in a statement Tuesday night.
Patterson, David Tribble, Vice-Chairman Jeff Carroll and Garrett McDaniel voted to terminate Caime’s contract. Luke Rankin, Kemp Younts and Diane Anderson voted against the motion.
When reached Tuesday night, Caime had no comment on council’s decision.
Caime, who came to Laurens County after 15 years in the same position in Hart County, Georgia, signed a three-year contract extension in March of 2019 that would have expired on May 22, 2022.
As detailed by his contract, Caime will receive six months of his $130,000 annual salary and benefits as severance. Patterson said there were no incidents of malfeasance or illegalities on Caime’s part that would have negated the terms of the contract.
Upon announcing Caime had been put on leave following its March 9 meeting, council voted to name Public Works Director Dale Satterfield as acting county administrator. Satterfield will remain in that role for now.
Patterson said council will most likely consider whether to name Satterfield interim county administrator at its next regular meeting on April 13. He said he also expects council to consider how it will go forward in seeking Caime’s successor.
Patterson added that he does anticipate a nationwide search to find a new county administrator.
“I envision us doing an open application process,” he said.
During his tenure in Laurens County, Caime was instrumental in the structure of the Capital Project Sales Tax, which passed by referendum in November’s General Election, and helped revamp the county’s budgeting process.
Caime’s departure leaves two major government offices vacant within the county. Clinton is searching for a new city manager after the abrupt retirement of former city manager Bill Ed Cannon in February.