“It’s just the right thing to do.”
That’s how Horry County Emergency Management Director Randy Webster sums up his decision not to leave the post he has held since 2003.
Earlier, Webster had submitted his resignation to take a similar position with the Conway Medical Center (CMC). But in the meantime, the job of assistant county administrator for public safety became vacant and Webster said it’s a position that he would like to try and feels he’s very qualified to handle.
Last month, Joe Huffman unexpectedly resigned from the assistant administrator post. County officials did not elaborate on the reason for Huffman’s departure, but he left less than a week after Mississippi’s state auditor demanded that he pay that state thousands of dollars for improperly managing bond money when he worked for the city of Pascagoula, according to a news release from Mississippi Auditor Shad White.
Currently, the Horry County Council is looking to fill the position of County Administrator who will in turn hire the assistant administrator.
Webster said this may take a while and he did not want to string Conway Medical along while he was waiting to see if he gets the assistant administrator job.
“CMC has to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season and I want to make sure they have somebody in place ahead of time,” Webster said. “I really appreciate their confidence in me and I wanted to do the right thing.”
Webster has been in some type of emergency capacity with Horry County for 30 years, starting as a paramedic in May of 1989. Working his way up through the ranks, and disasters, he was named County Emergency Preparedness Director in 2003.
As emergency management director, Webster became the point person during disasters, coordinating operations with local, state and federal officials. He has served as a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hurricane Liaison Team and on various panels, including the South Carolina Hurricane Task Force and the Pee Dee Regional Counter Terrorism Coordinating Council.
“I’ve been through most of the major storms and disasters in recent years in Horry County, starting with Hugo in 1989,” Webster said.
He added that Hurricane Florence and the two major flood events in recent years were his biggest challenges.
His work leading the county through these disaster minefields hasn’t gone unnoticed elsewhere. In 2016, Webster was named the top emergency preparedness director in South Carolina.
As to being named the new assistant administrator for public safety, Webster said he hopes his experience over the last 30 years in the county will speak for itself.
“I think I could do a good job in that position,” he said. “If not, I’m perfectly content to stay right where I am and get ready for this hurricane season.”