Darlington names Etheridge as next city attorney
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, email@example.com
Darlington City Council convened a special meeting July 25 and voted to hire Kevin R. Etheridge as city attorney when the term of Albert James III expires in September, 2016.
City council member John Milling nominated Etheridge, received a second from council member Elaine Reed, and the balance of council voted to affirm the nomination. City council member Bryant Gardner abstained, noting that Etheridge’s private practice at the Gardner Law Firm might be perceived as a conflict of interest.
The appointment is an at-will arrangement, with either party able to terminate at any time. Etheridge will receive a monthly retainer of $1,000, and will be expected to handle city litigation and attend all council meetings unless excused by the mayor or city manager.
A Darlington native, Etheridge graduated from St. John’s High School and completed both his undergraduate and law school degrees at The University of South Carolina. He then joined his father John R. Etheridge, Jr. in private practice at the historic Gardner Law Firm (operating in Darlington since the 1920s) handling criminal defense, personal injury, Worker’s Compensation, and Social Security cases. The firm now has five offices including locations in Darlington, Hartsville, Marion, Pageland, and Florence.
Etheridge tells the News & Press that he is gratified to have the faith of Darlington’s city government and feels excited to have the chance to help his hometown through civil service.
“When the position became available, I decided to throw my hat in the ring because I figured it was a good way to give back. I think we can do a lot of good things. We’ve got some good leadership (in Darlington) and I felt it was a good way to give back to the community that raised me,” says Etheridge.
With that September start date looming, Etheridge says he will soon sit down with James and review current legal issues facing the city and go over the docket of pending cases. He says he looks forward to conferring with James about the challenges and nuances unique to the position of city attorney.
“Mr. James is an excellent attorney… I’m going to follow his lead and hopefully do as good a job as he did,” Etheridge says. “I’m going to take a lot of advice and have my door open to any individual that want to advise me… but I’m jumping in with both feet and I’m genuinely excited to have this opportunity.”