Charleston, South Carolina

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Budget P
Meetings P
Elected Officials
Administrative Officials
Permits, zoning
Contracts P
Lobbying N
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Public Records
Local Taxes

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Transparency grading process
Charleston is a city in the state of South Carolina. It is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. As defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and used by the U.S. Census Bureau for statistical purposes only, Charleston is included within the Charleston – North Charleston – Summerville metropolitan area and the Charleston-North Charleston urban area. The population was counted by the U.S. Census in 2010 at 120,083, making it the second most populous city in South Carolina, closely behind the state capital Columbia. Current trends put Charleston as the fastest-growing municipality in South Carolina. The city is one of three principal cities of a metropolitan statistical area of 659,191 – the second largest in the state – and the 76th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.

Website evaluation

See also: Evaluation of South Carolina city websites

The good

  • Current budget documents are posted.[1]
  • Names and contact details are provided for elected officials.[2][3]
  • A contact directory contains contact details for individual administrative officials.[4]
  • Meeting minutes are available[5], along with the most recent meeting agendas.[6]
  • Zoning details and building permit documents are available.[7][8]
  • Financial audits are posted.[9][10]
  • Open bids and award notices are listed.[11]
  • Instructions and contact details are provided for filing a Freedom of Information Act Request. A link is provided to state FOIA policies.[12]
  • Information is available regarding business taxes and fees.[13] Property tax mill rates and revenues are posted within budget documents.[14]

The bad

  • Archived budget documents are not posted.
  • Archived meeting agendas are not posted.
  • Current city contracts are not available.
  • Taxpayer funded lobbying efforts are not listed.


The City's fiscal year 2012 General Fund and Enterprise Funds operating budget totals $154,842,008 in expenditures, which is a 6% increase from the original approved 2011 budget and a 2.3% increase from the amended 2011 budget.[14]

General Fund Budget Summary:[14]

2012 Approved Budget
Revenues $118,913,530
Transfers In $8,786,989
Use of Fund Balance $1,340,000
Total Revenues & Other Financing Sources $129,040,519
Expenditures $130,129,182
Transfers Out $2,421,168
Total Expenditures & Other Financing Uses $132,550,350

Public employees

Elected officials

The City is governed by a 12 member City Council. Members are:[2]

Member District
F. Gary White, Jr. 1
Blake Hallman 2
James Lewis, Jr. 3
Robert M. Mitchell 4
Marvin D. Wagner 5
William Dudley Gregorie 6
Perry K. Waring 7
Michael S. Seekings 8
Aubry Alexander 9
Dean C. Riegel 10
William A. Moody, Jr. 11
Kathleen G. Wilson 12

The current Mayor is Joseph P. Riley, Jr. (dead link) As of 2012, Mayor Riley is serving his tenth term as Mayor.[3]

Administrative officials

A citywide contact directory can be found here.


The City provides a PDF document listing annual salaries for employees. In 2012, the City listed 10 employees earning over $100,000 per year. Employees also received a 3% cost of living adjustment effective January 21, 2012. The 10 highest paid employees were:[15]

Name Position 2012 Annual Salary
Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Mayor $162,815.90
Gregory G. Mullen Chief of Police $144,545.00
Thomas W. Carr, Jr. Chief of Fire $135,700.01
Stephen Allen Bedard Chief Financial Officer $135,200.83
Laura Cabiness Director of Public Service $108,657.12
Adelaide Andrews Deputy Corporation Counsel $107,167.84
Mary Ann Sullivan Senior Advisor to the Mayor $106,518.36
Henry Lesesne Senior Advisor to the Mayor $103,510.01
John W. Ratterree Chief Information Officer $101,048.69
Timothy J. Keane Director of Planning, Preservation, & Sustainability $100,930.71



The City does not provide information on taxpayer funded lobbying.


Property tax millage for 2012 was 76.8 mills, constant with the 2011 millage. Since 1990, according to the City's budget, property taxes have decreased 12 times, remained constant 8 times, and increased twice. Property taxes make up an estimated 43.6% of the City's total general fund revenues, down from 64.5% in 1990 as a result of revenue source diversification.[14]

Transparency & public records

Information on how to file a Freedom of Information Act request can be found here.

External links