|Case of the Month|
Erick L. Bradshaw, Sr., Doreen Montepara and Michael Montepara,
Appellants, v. Anderson County, and Edwin E. Moore, individually,
Thomas Allen, individually, and Robert E. Waldrep, Jr., individually, Respondents.
This action was commenced by appellants, who are business owners, citizens, residents and taxpayers of Anderson County, against respondents in the Court of Common Pleas in Anderson County, alleging that certain actions taken by respondents, who are members of Anderson County Council, violated the South Carolina Home Rule Act, S.C. Code Ann. § 4-9-10 et seq (1986 & Supp. 2009) and the procurement provisions of the Anderson County Code. Specifically, appellants asserted respondents violated the Act and the Code when they hired an accountant, an accounting firm and an attorney to conduct an investigation to investigate the financial and business affairs of the County. Appellants’ assertions with regard to the Act were based on the fact that County Council itself took the actions rather than acting through the county administrator, since Anderson County operates under the council-administrator form of government.
Respondents filed a motion to dismiss the action. Following a hearing in the Anderson County Court of Common Pleas, the circuit court judge issued an order dismissing the action based on his finding that respondents’ actions were fully consistent with the South Carolina Home Rule Act and did not violate the procurement provisions of the South Carolina Code.
Appellants filed a notice of appeal in the South Carolina Court of Appeals. The appeal was transferred to the South Carolina Supreme Court. Appellants argue the circuit court judge erred in dismissing the action for several reasons. Appellants argue that a county council in a council-administrator form of government cannot (1) directly hire an employee other than a county administrator or council clerk and use that employee as an internal auditor or other financial advisor who reports directly to council; (2) directly contract with accountants to assist a directly hired employee when neither is conducting a special audit and the competitive bidding process was not used; or (3) directly hire attorneys to work for it without utilizing the competitive bidding process and contrary to its own county attorney statute. Respondents, on the other hand, contend the South Carolina Home Rule Act and the Anderson County Code authorize them to conduct an investigation or inquiry without acting through the county administrator. They also argue the county attorney does not have exclusive authority to hire attorneys to assist with or defend a county council investigation.
The parties will present these arguments to the South Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday, May 12, 2010, at 10:30 a.m.
View Oral Arguments
(52:22 minutes playing time)