Georgetown's new administrator made it official Thursday evening when she signed her employment agreement following City Council's vote of approval.
Sandra Yudice will join the city on Aug. 5 with an annual salary of $140,000. She is currently an assistant administrator for Richland County and has more than two decades of experience in local government.
Council members gave Yudice a round of applause, and she told them she's humbled and honored to be selected as Georgetown's next leader.
"I'm going to do my best to help everybody," she said.
Yudice's salary is well above what the city’s previous administrator, Paul Gardner, was earning -- slightly more than $108,000 annually -- before he resigned in early 2018. But Gardner did not have prior experience in city management -- he was Georgetown's chief of police before being hired as administrator with the backing of former Mayor Jack Scoville.
Yudice plans to live in Georgetown as required by city ordinance, but council may tweak the regulation to allow she and her husband more time to find a home.
The ordinance says a new administrator must establish permanent residence in the city within six months of being hired. But Yudice's employment agreement says City Council will "review and address" the ordinance within 60 days.
Mayor Barber said, "We’re allowing the flexibility to live outside the city until she can find something." City Council would have to set an appropriate time frame, he said.
"You just want to be fair," Barber said.
When Gardner was hired in 2016, City Council amended the ordinance to allow the administrator to live outside the city if they already had a permanent residence in Georgetown County - Gardner had a home in DeBordieu Colony.
The city will reimburse Yudice up to $5,000 for moving expenses. She will also be allowed the use of a city vehicle, as is custom for Georgetown's administrator.
The employment agreement lasts for three years but will be automatically renewed on a yearly basis unless prior notice is given to end the agreement.
If city council chooses to terminate the agreement without cause, Yudice will receive a lump sum payment equivalent to six months salary. If council shows cause for the termination, then she would not receive pay beyond her last day of work.