Newspaper: SC county court clerk gave herself $30,000 raise
KINGSTREE, S.C. (AP) — An elected court clerk in a small South Carolina county gave herself a $30,000 raise last year using federal money set aside to improve collecting child support, a newspaper reported,
The county attorney isn’t sure what Williamsburg County Clerk of Court Sharon Staggers did was appropriate and the State Law Enforcement Division is looking into her office, The Post and Courier reported.
Staggers’ salary is now more than $92,000, according to documents the paper obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request.
Staggers didn’t return messages seeking comment and when a reporter from the Kingstree News came to her office Monday, she referred all questions to Williamsburg County Attorney Billy Jenkinson.
Jenkinson said he spent weeks tryin to figure out if Staggers spent the federal money appropriately. The federal guidelines are vague and the state Department of Social Services hasn’t answered his questions.
“When you find out more, let me know,” Jenkinson said. “I’m curious to know myself. We don’t know the answers.”
Staggers gave county officials a 2015 email from state officials saying clerks of court could use the federal money to pay salaries for employees with some exceptions. It did not clarify if a clerk could increase her own pay.
Staggers is a Democrat who was first elected in 2012 and ran unopposed in both the primary and general election for a third four-year term in 2020.
Officials in Williamsburg County have been questioning the raise for months after Williamsburg County Supervisor Tiffany Cooks learned about the pay increase.
“I’m just against stuff like that,” Williamsburg County Councilman Eddie Woods said. “Maybe legally it’s not wrong, but morally it certainly is. That’s something the citizens need to be aware of.”