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Lowcountry South Carolina Administrator Placed On Leave

Eric Greenway drama escalates in Beaufort County …

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Beaufort County, South Carolina’s top appointed bureaucrat – who makes nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year on his government salary – was placed on paid administrative leave “until further notice” this week. The move was made following an emergency session of Beaufort County council on Monday morning – the vast majority of which was conducted behind closed doors.

When council members emerged from their “executive session,” they announced administrator Eric Greenway had been “placed on paid leave until further notice.” The county’s public safety administrator, John Robinson, was named acting administrator.

County leaders also announced their intention to hire an outside firm to conduct “a thorough review of all purchases that have occurred since January 1, 2023, to confirm that those purchases comply with the County’s procurement codes, to identify any purchases that do not comply with County’s procurement codes, to bring to Council those that do not comply, and to provide a description of the discrepancies.”

A similar review will be conducted “of all contracts for professional services which the County has entered into since January 1, 2023,” and an audit is being undertaken of the County’s P-Card system for the fiscal years 2019-2020, 2020-2021, 2021-2022, and 2022-2023.”

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This is serious business, obviously … but there remains no public discussion of what precipitated these inquiries, or for that matter the ongoing criminal investigation into “activities that may constitute misconduct” by Greenway.

As this news outlet previously reported, Beaufort sheriff PJ Tanner and S.C. fourteenth circuit solicitor Duffie Stone have referred a criminal complaint to the office of S.C. first circuit solicitor David Pascoe for review. 

“County council members realize that everyone wants to know the reason or reasons that caused today’s decision to place Mr. Greenway on administrative leave – and rightfully so,” council chairman Joseph Passiment said in a statement. “That will happen. Unfortunately, consistent with county policy we cannot say more at this time because this is an ongoing personnel matter. There will come a time when we can talk about it openly and freely. And we will do so. But we are not there yet. So, please be patient with us as we go through this process together.”

What did Greenway allegedly do?

All we know from the police incident report (.pdf) is that the alleged misconduct involving Greenway took place between January 9, 2023 and May 11, 2023. Since then, our media outlet has learned the start date referenced in the report could refer to a contract between Beaufort County and a company called Elementzal LLC.

That document engages Elementzal to undertake an “opioid public education and marketing campaign” on behalf of the county.

What’s allegedly improper about this contract? As of this writing, nothing. However a source familiar with the status of the Greenway investigation indicated it was a “launch point” for the criminal probe.

(Click to View)

Lisa Hassinger Lynch (Facebook)

Elementzal is a family outfit run by Beaufort County residents Angie Hassinger and Lisa Hassinger Lynch. It was incorporated with the S.C. Secretary of State’s office less than a month before the memo was submitted – on December 15, 2022.

Sources familiar with the complaint say a “relationship” involving Greenway and Lynch is part of the investigation. The nature of this relationship has not been described to us in detail, other than to say it reportedly went south sometime in May of this year.

Prior to that, Greenway was a big fan of the company – sending it tens of thousands of tax dollars and providing a written testimonial which can still be found on the company’s website. In his testimonial, Greenway praised Hassinger and Lynch as “consummate professionals,” “strong advocates” and “highly effective communicators” who had any number of “unshakable interagency partnerships.”

In addition to her work on the opioid campaign, Lynch was hired as the county’s director of wellness on April 17, 2023. Greenway announced her hiring via an email to county employees touting her “wealth of experience in the field of wellness.” 

A former staffer to Democratic congressman John Spratt, Greenway was tapped by Beaufort’s elected council to lead the county on an interim basis in November 2020. Seven months later, he was unanimously chosen to take over the position on a permanent basis.

He has held it ever since.

Greenway has not been implicated in any criminal activity or other wrongdoing at this time. Assuming the forthcoming investigation were to produce credible allegations of misconduct, it would then be up to a grand jury to determine whether probable cause existed to charge him criminally – at which point he would avail himself of our criminal justice system.

And of course, as is our custom, this media outlet’s microphone is always open to Greenway and his allies in the event they wish to address our audience regarding any of the allegations against him.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

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