Darlington City Manager resigns

Darlington City Manager John Payne. PHOTO BY STEPHAN DREW

By Stephan Drew, Editor


After nearly three years of dedicated service, Darlington City Manager John Payne has announced his decision to step down from his position to pursue an opportunity in Charleston. His departure comes at a crucial time for the city, as it reflects on significant achievements made under his leadership.

Appointed in July 2021 to succeed Howard Garland, Payne has been instrumental in steering Darlington towards a trajectory of growth and development. In a heartfelt letter addressed to city leaders, he highlighted several accomplishments that have positioned the city, with its nearly 7,000 residents, on a strong footing for the future.

Among the achievements Payne underscored is the city’s substantial progress in securing over $10 million worth of infrastructure grants dedicated to the repair and enhancement of crucial water, sewer, and stormwater systems. This investment lays a robust foundation for the city’s continued development and resilience against environmental challenges.

Furthermore, Payne’s implementation of an income verification procedure for business licenses and hospitality tax fees has bolstered the city’s revenue streams and ensured fairness in its financial transactions. Additionally, his prudent management of city investments, yielding a remarkable 50-fold return, demonstrates his fiscal acumen and commitment to maximizing resources for the benefit of Darlington.

Under Payne’s leadership, the city has also achieved clean municipal audits, signaling transparency and accountability in its governance. Moreover, his efforts to institute market-rate pay for employees and significantly increase starting salaries for police officers reflect a commitment to attracting and retaining top talent essential for maintaining public safety and delivering quality services to residents.

With over 30 years of experience in both the public and private sectors, including notable roles such as finance manager for Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Payne brought a wealth of expertise to his role in Darlington. While his departure is undoubtedly a loss for the city, his legacy of progress and strategic vision will undoubtedly endure.

As Darlington bids farewell to John Payne on March 29th, the city remains poised to build upon the foundation he has laid, continuing its journey towards prosperity and resilience.

Author: Stephan Drew

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