Despite rumors, Darlington City Council extends city manager’s contract

DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – Darlington City Council met Tuesday night, and Darlington Mayor Gloria Hines addressed rumors that council members do not support the city manager.

Last Thursday council held a special meeting to discuss “personnel administration,” but took no action.

Dozens of people packed the Darlington City Council meeting where the city manager’s contract was one of the first items on the agenda.

After a brief executive session, Mayor Gloria Hines announced council will extend the city manager’s contract for one year. The crowd applauded the action.

“The city manager’s contract was for two years. His year runs out September the 30th. If we didn’t renew it, it would automatically renew for one year. That is what we decided to give him,” explained Hines.

Darlington City Manager Howard Garland said last Thursday council could not talk about what happened in executive session.

“It’s a small town and word travels quickly. If somebody doesn’t understand something because it was in the context of an executive session, that kind of limits you,” said Garland. “That’s where we were. I got many phone calls and texts but we really can’t comment on things like that.”

Garland said he is grateful council extended his contract.

“It’s my home town. I’ve only moved away for six years to work in Mullins. So, I am gratified; I’m relieved.  It’ll be nice to go home and sleep without my wife having a pained look on her face. I feel good about that,” said Garland.

Darlington resident Ben Williamson spoke to the council. He is happy council came together to make a decision but suggested a mediator for future meetings.

Another resident said he is happy people showed up to support Garland.

“I think Howard has done a great job. Our town needs a lot of work,” said Curtis Boyd, Darlington resident and business owner. “There’s a lot of things going on to take care of. A lot more work that needs to be taken care of. That’s why we asked people to come out and state what you want.”

Hines says council voted unanimously to extend Garland’s contract and she hopes this addressed a lot of rumors.

“Some of the rumors said we were against him. That was not true that was put out there,” explained Hines. “I don’t like that was put out there about me. I care about Mr. Garland. He is a great city manager. We need to continue to grow. Darlington cannot grow with the views that were out there.”

Both the mayor and city manager look forward to working on a $2 million storm water project as well as a new recreation complex.