Is McBride’s new $75k gig-to-be an outrage, or what?

Initially, I would have been in the “or what” category.

If, early on in this process — before all the stonewalling, and the is-she-resigning-or-is-she-not stuff — I would have been in the “or what” camp. After all, she supposedly did the job they’re moving her to adequately (or at least not disastrously) before. So why not move her back there?

But now, after all that has passed, the idea that she would go back to the same job with an $8,000 raise from what she was paid in that job before is pretty hard to take. In whose universe is that an appropriate response to her performance running the 2012 election? What happened between 2011 and now that made her that much more valuable in the proposed new/old job?

Some of y’all have been commenting on this already on other posts, but now I’m finally getting around to doing a separate post on it. Here’s the news story from this morning:

COLUMBIA, SC — Former Richland County elections director Lillian McBride is on track to be offered a $74,600-a-year job as deputy director in a newly reorganized elections and voter registration office.

In that new position, McBride – who last week agreed to step out of her $89,124-a-year director’s job – would stay in the office, overseeing county voter registration efforts and absentee balloting. That’s the job she held 18 months ago before becoming the state’s highest-paid county elections director and presiding Nov. 6 over the most bungled county election in modern state history…

McBride was paid $66,429 in 2011 as the county’s director of voter registration when Mike Cinnamon ran the separate county elections office. She got a raise to $85,000 in mid-2011 when she was named director of the newly merged voter registration and elections office…

Have at it, those of you who haven’t sounded off yet…

31 thoughts on “Is McBride’s new $75k gig-to-be an outrage, or what?

  1. Debbie McDaniel

    I’m just a lowly shopkeeper but cannot imagine having someone that incompetent working for me. You screw up that badly and you’re out the door. I guess government entities have lots more dollars to play with.

  2. Doug Ross

    I wouldn’t have expected anything less. The silence from the people who gave her the job is just as much of an outrage. But that’s government jobs for you. If you don’t commit a crime all you gotta do is play along. The fact that she makes double what my wife makes as a highly efficient bookkeeper in a large high school is a joke.

    1. bud

      Doug, why single out government jobs? The former CEO of AIG is actually suing the government for some alleged impropriety against him even though his actions nearly resulted in the collapse of the US economy. When it comes to gauling salaray extravagence the private sector, especially the banking industry, has in way beyond the pittance that government sector employees manage to get.

  3. barry

    Brad, this shouldn’t surprise you at all. I saw this one coming.

    Sadly, it’s a race thing. I didn’t know that myself until reading some comments on facebook and there is a big “move” out there to protect her and keep her in a high paid position.

    it is what it is. It’s not like this is the first time this has been done in government though.

  4. Silence

    Please recognize this as exactly what it is. This is a political payoff, they are buying her cooperation. Once the heat dies down a little bit, they will either move her into a higher paying job, or bring her pay back up to a level commensurate with her elections director salary.

  5. Kathryn Fenner

    In a somewhat related matter, I understand from people whom I find excellent, that Teresa Wilson is a good hire, and that it isn’t her fault that City Council underpaid Steve Gantt. City staff seems to be very positive about her.

    Lillian McBride, now I am shaking my head over that one.

    1. Doug Ross

      Where else could Teresa Wilson make anything close to $190K plus a $7K car allowance? She makes DOUBLE what Curtis Loftis makes as Treasurer of South Carolina.

      This is what makes the “penny” tax so laughable. There’s plenty of money to overpay bureacrats apparently.

      It won’t last though. Enjoy the good times now… wait til people start fleeing to surrounding towns. Columbia will be like Detroit in a decade.

  6. Steven Davis II

    Get used to it, it appears to be stand procedure for Richland County/City of Columbia these days.

    Will Randy Scott get a raise when he comes off his 15 day retirement?

  7. JoanneH

    My suspicions are that she got the first director job “somehow.” And this “somehow” is related to how she got the second deputy job. Somehow.

    1. Silence

      I used to work with some folks who either “owned the goat” or had compromising photos… That was the only explanation of how they could have been employed.

  8. Mark Stewart


    If you think Steve Gantt was “underpaid” it is only because City Council knew he was double dipping in the TERI program. He didn’t suffer, clearly. And Travis is right, she should have started with a much lower pay basis.

    There is a lot of silly money flowing around Richland County politics; considering how low the cost of living really is – in the County or the city of Columbia.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Not saying he wasn’t getting adequate compensation. Saying that the nominal comp for the job was too low when Steve Gantt was receiving it. Wilson is not being overpaid, it appears.

      1. Steven Davis II

        How much experience does she have compared to the other city managers who are in the compared to cities? Apparently she didn’t have enough experience to qualify for the original job description so they altered it so she would qualify.

  9. Steve Gordy

    This reminds me of an old Thomas Nast cartoon from the 1870s. It showed a political boss and his cronies as vultures perched in a tree, with the caption, “Gentlemen, let us prey.”

    1. tavis micklash


      “My suspicions are that she got the first director job “somehow.”

      She did a good job at registrations. I don’t want that to get lost here. The Legislative Delegation unanimously offered her the job.

      I think they thought that her position as director would be as oversight and that she wouldn’t be tinkering with elections much and that she would just let her staff handle it.

      I want to bring up again that this is a messed up system where STATE senators and Representatives are mucking up this system. Thats why we have COUNTY council to muck this up.

  10. bud

    I find it interesting that this relatively minor scandal in Richland County is drawing SOOOO much attention while the far, far bigger scandal that resulting in millions of SS records getting stolen is receiving a good bit less attention. Could it be that Richland County is run by Democrats whereas our state government is run by Republicans? Seems like a sort of partyism bigotry on the part of the media.

    1. Steven Davis II

      I find it interesting that bud has no concerns about Lillian McBride’s inability to take responsibility for a major screw up yet ability to retain a high paying position. Is it because she’s a Democrat and so is he?

  11. barry

    Agree Kathryn – from the few things I saw about Ms. Wilson on tv- and her brief interview with the reporter- she certainly has the demeanor necessary for the job. She was calm, measured, and careful in her remarks to the reporter.

    I didn’t see anything there that would cause concern. She doesn’t have a lot of experience and that could be an issue- but it’s not like she’s not familiar with the role of the job.

    My only hope is that she won’t allow herself to be a pawn of council members.

      1. Steven Davis II

        Like the fact that with the initial job description they had six qualified candidates, dumbed the job description down, and Lordy Be we’ve got someone right here in our own organization who perfectly fits the description. What about those initial six candidates?

  12. Silence

    And for $190k/annum I will GLADLY move ahead two squares in the initial move, one square after that and take opposing pieces diagonally.

  13. tavis micklash

    The City Manager works at the pleasure of Council. There is no end date to the employment contract.

    Saying that if she were to get fired she gets 1 year salary as severance pay.

    Here is another side of the coin for the pay though.

    Lets say Strong Mayor comes up soon (it is). Lets also assume it passes (good chance since they will frame it as a referendum on Steve Benjamin).

    She will no longer be City Manager but City Administrator. Will they claw back some of that money?

  14. Brad Warthen Post author

    Mia is definitely in the “outrage” column. An excerpt from that blog post:
    Dumb and Dumber…
    That’s obviously what they think you are. Otherwise, the Old Guard (a.k.a. “OG”) wouldn’t be brazen enough to “demote” and “promote” incompetence in the same breath. And all on your dime, too.

  15. Brad Warthen Post author

    I’ve got to hand it to Mia. She staked out a lonely position on this early, and she has stuck to it. At no time has she pulled her head back in.

    Yes, you can accuse her of trying to advance her political career. No doubt some of the OG looks upon her about the way Bobby Harrell et al. looked upon Nikki Haley’s rabble-rousing during her House days.

    But so far, I find the positions Mia is taking more defensible than a lot of Nikki’s. And ultimately, that’s what matters.


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