Union's mayor should have an “administrative assistant” and a salary of no more than $20,000 a year, mayoral candidate Don Shetley says.
Shetley announced his candidacy Wednesday afternoon calling for a modification of the current strong mayor system. Under Shetley's proposal, the duties of mayor and administrator would be separated; the salaries of the mayor and members of the Union City Council capped at a maximum of $20,000 a year; and the mayor given an administrative assistant who would provide office management services but have no control over city policy.
Currently, the mayor also serves as municipal administrator. The two positions were combined in 2004, boosting the mayor's salary from $6,610 a year to $103,545. The lower salary would reflect a move toward a more consultative relationship between mayor, council, city employees and Union residents who Shetley said he would bring together to help decide on the best methods to manage the city.
“The organizations I've been in over the years, civic, paid and non--paid, you sit down and have a monthly or quarterly scheduled meeting,” Shetley said. “So we'd sit down together and maybe somebody would come up with a good idea. Communication is a key element to help us all get on the same path.”
Shetley said an administrative assistant would assist the mayor and council in the performance of their duties but have fewer powers and a lower salary than an administrator.
“Some people have got the misconception about the administrator as being a form of government, that's not reallly a form of government,” Shetley said. “You've the strong mayor, you've got the weak mayor and then you've got the modified (forms of government). The administrator has no duties specified by law but works at the pleasure of the mayor and the council.
“The new concept in a lot of smaller counties and cities is to get an administrative asssistant who has no power to make policy changes or enforce policy (but) primarily keeps the office organized and does the appointments,” he said. “These are professional people and it's a growing concept in South Carolina to use administrative assistants.”
Shetley added that 90 percent of the administrative assistants make less than $50,000 a year.
A 1955 graduate of Union High School, Shetley studied at Spartanburg Methodist College for two years before joining the U.S. Army. Shetley retired from the military after 27 years and worked for All State as an agent and then as an independent agent for 37 years. After retiring from All State, Shetley opened and serves as president of Shetley Enterprises Inc., a specialty and referral service.
Though he is the fourth candidate to announce for mayor, Shetley's name will not be on the November ballot. He will instead campaign as a write-in candidate. Mayor Bruce Morgan had been unopposed for reelection when he resigned so the ballot will be left blank as state law does not permit the filing period to be reopened.
Morgan resigned Thursday just hours before it was announced that he and building and zoning director Jeff Lawson had been indicted by a federal grant jury for conspiring to extort bribes and kickbacks from contractors seeking to do business with the city.