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Council of Regional Governments contemplating moving workforce center

  • Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments is talking to Georgetown County officials about the possibility of finding a new home for the S.C. Works Center in Georgetown.

The center is currently in the 2400 block of Highmarket Street. While the facility has plenty of space, it is rundown, COG executive director Sarah Smith said Monday.

The center’s staff used to work out of COG headquarters in the 1200 block of Highmarket Street.

After a sinkhole damaged the building that housed the COG staff that worked with county seniors, the workforce staff moved to the works center.

Late last year, COG moved all of the programs under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) in-house, so more staff took up residence in the headquarters building.

Smith told the COG board on Monday that staff is now “packed in like sardines.”

One possibility Smith is exploring with County Administrator Sel Hemingway is expanding the COG headquarters.

In other business

Problems with computers at area S.C. Works Centers has the COG considering no longer using the network of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW), Smith told the board on Monday night.

“Quite frankly, it’s a crisis in our centers,” Smith said.

COG pays DEW $50 a month to maintain the computers, but numerous problems have staff considering providing COG computers.

The COG board also moved closer to hiring a new auditor.

Lawrimore and Lawrimore of Hemingway, which had served the COG for more than 20 years, decided not to sign another contract.

The process took longer than expected because of a lack of applicants when the contract was first advertised.

Five firms eventually responded: Thompson, Price, Scott and Adams; Newsome and Co.; Webster Rogers; Phillips Currin and Co.; and David Parks Jr.

Thompson, Price, Scott and Adams and Newsome and Co. were chosen by a committee to be interviewed, and the committee recommended Thompson, Price, Scott and Adams.

The board approved the recommendation, but the companies that were not chosen have the right to appeal.

During the period of July through November last year, the COG delivered 19,150 meals to Georgetown County residents, and volunteers traveled 94,587 miles under the Assisted Rides programs.

The COG board also approved a raise of nearly $10,000 for Smith. The increase includes a stipend for technology and an automobile.

State Sen. Yancey McGill, a board member, pointed out that even at her new compensation of $135,000 a year, Smith is still is one of the lowest paid executive directors of the state 10 Councils of Regional Governments.

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