Caime releases statement, council looks at future

Former Laurens County Administrator Jon Caime

Former Laurens County Administrator Jon Caime broke his month-long public silence Monday, sending out a brief statement to local media outlets and acknowledging the county employees he oversaw during his tenure as administrator.

Caime was placed on leave by the Laurens County Council following its March 9 meeting. Council members voted 4-3 on March 30 to terminate Caime’s contract, which was to run through May of 2022.

Neither Caime nor council members have commented publicly on the reasons behind Caime’s firing. County Council Chairman Brown Patterson has referenced the decision as a personnel matter, which precludes it from public comment.

“Five years ago, seven County Council members hired me to help transform Laurens County,” Caime’s email read. “I truly believe it was a gift from God that I was brought to serve Laurens County and implement new ideas for progress. Change is difficult for anyone and as a catalyst for change, I knew I would run into resistance. My passion to serve the Citizens of Laurens County never faded and many of the progressive ideas that were implemented under my leadership will far outlive my time of service in Laurens County.

“Most people rarely consider the dedication and hard work of your government workers/public servants. We complain when we have to pay taxes, abide by seemingly arbitrary government rules and policies, and deal with public servants who we think are only there for a paycheck. Public servants have a passion to serve their community and that is exactly what the team members in the Laurens County Government do for you every day. I am proud to have served the Citizens of Laurens County alongside of the many dedicated Laurens County government workers I worked with for the past five years. I wish Laurens County continued peace, prosperity and progress.”

Caime, who was hired from Hart County, Georgia, in 2016, was placed on paid leave for three weeks prior to his firing. As detailed by his contract, he will receive six months of his $130,000 and benefits. He signed a contract extension in March of 2019.

Over the past two years, Caime was instrumental in the framework of the Capital Project Sales Tax, a $35 million referendum for a penny sales tax that will fund 16 projects across the county. The measure passed with broad support during the 2020 General Election.

Council was expected to take up the next steps in finding Caime’s successor at its regular meeting Tuesday night, addressing an employment matter in executive session.

Patterson said following the March 30 called meeting that he expects an open search to identify candidates for the opening. Public Works Director Dale Satterfield was named acting administrator and that title could shift to interim administrator following Tuesday’s meeting, Patterson said.

In other business Tuesday, council was expected to hold first reading on the fiscal 2021-22 general operations and fire service budgets as well as first reading on renewal of the Local Option Sales Tax.

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