Beaufort County Council delays decision on PIO

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County Council members Monday took no action on a proposal to hire a communications director but spent most of their special meeting debating the mask ordinance.

The Council had discussed two weeks ago moving Communications Manager Laura Fanelli into a newly created position as spokesperson for the gang of 11. But following a media report last week about controversial comments made by Fanelli on her Twitter account, Chairman Joe Passiment removed the appointment from the agenda.

The Council did agree to extend the current COVID emergency ordinance until Gov. Henry D. McMaster lifts restrictions statewide. The local ordinance was scheduled to expire mid-October and four of the Council members were prepared to let it expire.

“We got this. It’s time to let citizens decide what’s best,” said Councilman Mike Covert, who is not seeking re-election next month.

He was backed by the majority of 500-plus comments submitted on Facebook as the visual meeting proceeded.

The majority of council members did not agree, and the decision to follow McMaster’s lead passed 7-4.

The council also set a date of Oct. 13 for another special in-person meeting to conduct the evaluation of Administrator Ashley Jacobs. Jacobs asked for the face-to-face session and the council agreed with the plan to conduct the review at the Bluffton Recreation Center.

– Lolita Huckaby