Fort Mill council opts not to hire search firm for town manager

mharrison@fortmilltimes.comNovember 30, 2012 

— The Fort Mill Town Council met Friday to discuss its continuing search for a successor to Town Manager David Hudspeth, who is retiring in early 2013.

Officials said they planned to discuss the possibility of hiring an executive search firm to recruit candidates after council’s choice for the job, Abbeville City Manager Nolan Wiggins Jr., turned down an offer recently. The meeting was held in a closed-door “executive session.”

Mayor Danny Funderburk said in an email to the Fort Mill Times after the meeting that no votes were taken and that the council is not hiring a search firm.

“The strategy going forward will involve Council proactively identifying and recruiting one or more of the best qualified candidates we can find for the Fort Mill Town Manager position,” Funderburk wrote.

Wiggins, who did not respond to a voice mail message seeking comment, had “second thoughts” about relocating, Fort Mill Mayor Danny Funderburk said.

“It had nothing to do with the compensation package, but had more to do with him having second thoughts, 11th-hour concerns about uprooting his family, moving his kids from their school. He made it clear it didn’t have anything to do with money,” Funderburk said.

Hudspeth, who announced his retirement – effective Feb. 1 – this past summer, is paid $99,343 a year in base salary, according to his current contract.

Before offering the position to Wiggins, council held several rounds of interviews, eventually culling three top choices from the seven candidates they met with. The other two offered second interviews were Fort Mill Assistant Town Manager Joe Cronin and Beaufort County Deputy County Administrator Bryan Hill. Funderburk, asked if either Cronin or Hill would get any further consideration, said “I think the process speaks for itself.”

He also said the council, which has been assisted by the S.C. Municipal Association in screening candidates, will be looking more closely at experience when considering its next town manager.

“We’re going to talk about the possibility of targeting some people rather than put the word out through a network,” Funderburk said, “and we’re going to revisit the importance of experience. I think that’s going to weigh a little more heavily.”

Hudspeth said he told the council he’d be willing to stay “a little longer” than planned if he was needed.”

However, “no one around here is panicking,” Funderburk said.

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