Surfside Beach sign

Surfside Beach Town Administrator Dennis Pieper has gotten a raise and a contract extension.

Town leaders voted to extend his original agreement by two years and give him a $10,000 annual pay raise this year and next year.

He is under contract until July 1, 2023.

His $10,000 raise — which went into effect July 26 — upped his salary to $114,000. Pieper will receive another $10,000 pay raise on July 26, 2020.

“He’s done an exceptionally good job,” Mayor Bob Childs said. “He deserved a raise and he’s certainly earned an extension.”

Pieper agreed to a provision stating the town council by a super majority vote can terminate his contract without notice or comment. “In such instance, the Town of Surfside Beach shall pay Dennis P. Pieper the sum equal to one year’s salary, including annual vacation and sick leave as severance, within five (5) business days of termination,” the amendment said.

Pieper previously served as the town manager for Fort Mill.

Controversy was sparked in January 2018 when then-town administrator Micki Fellner and then-deputy administrator Jon Harrah were ousted by votes of town council.

Fellner was paid based on her annual salary of $101,430 until the end of her contract in June. 

Harrah sued Surfside Beach over his dismissal; the lawsuit was dismissed in July. “This case was resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties,” Harrah’s attorney Henrietta Golding said when reached by phone Tuesday. Columbia lawyer Eugene Matthews, who represented Surfside Beach in the matter, declined to comment.

Town police chief Kenneth Hofmann agreed to act as an acting administrator less than a week following the firings before Duckett eventually began serving in the interim role.

Pieper’s original contract that he signed last year includes a monthly car allowance of $600 and $1,500 for moving expenses.

The amendment comes just months before the town general election Nov. 5 for three town council spots — seats held by councilmen Ron Ott, Randle Stevens and Mark Johnson — and the mayoral position. Council members serve four-year terms.

Childs credited Pieper with quickly working to address any problems that arise in the town and effectively following requests from town leaders.

“He’s a very efficient, smart guy,” he said, “and just one of the best administrators we’ve had.”

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