As New President of U.S. Mayors, Benjamin Can Raise Profile of Columbia

Columbia’s Steve Benjamin has been sworn in as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, where he will be the face of an organization of around 1,400 mayors and host a gathering of dozens of them later this year in SC’s capital city. With his areas of focus as infrastructure, innovation and inclusion, Benjamin aims to give voice to the nation and D.C. a “strong message of fiscal conservatism with some thoughtful, progressive social policy that recognizes you find success through bipartisanship and consensus building. That’s something missing in Washington right now.”

Greenville County Homeowners Win Commercial Zoning Protection

Neighbors in east Greenville County who have been working for more than a year won a zoning victory against encroaching commercial development. The Greenville County Council, in an 11-1 vote, fortified for homeowners the status of a 644-acre area that is surrounded by commercial development off the Pelham Road exit of I-85. The Dublin Road Area Plan stems from when developer Neil Wilson proposed to rezone 12 acres of residential property to pave the way for warehouses. Wilson, who already is developing about 90 acres inside the area for a TopGolf venue, hotels and restaurants, had offered to buy more than 40 nearby homes for commercial redevelopment and warned that the Dublin Road Area Plan will hurt residential property values.

Charleston’s PhishLabs: Cybercriminals Now Target Emails More Than Banks

PhishLabs, a Charleston-based startup renowned for its tactics against advanced cybercriminals, said in its annual report that they’re shifting their focus after noticing the surge of phishing attacks against CEOs and executives of organizations rather than individual workers. Crane Hassold, the director of threat intelligence, says Microsoft’s Office365 email, e-signature service DocuSign and Adobe creative software are highly targeted, but digital attacks are increasing through text messages and social platforms because users are not often on guard that those paths are susceptible. The report says 26% of phishing attacks target email and online services, followed by financial institutions at 21%.

Legislators Aim for Audits of Spending by SC Solicitors

The office spending for all South Carolina’s 16 solicitors would be subject to a mandatory independent financial audit by Dec. 1 under an amendment proposed to the House’s state budget. The FBI and SLED have been investigating the spending of        5th Judicial Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson, which has included extensive domestic and international travel, as well as thousands spent on luxury Uber rides, casino site visits and checks written out to “cash.” There are currently few restrictions on how these chief prosecutors can spend money. “The only time I’ve ever heard of people being against something like this was if they had something to hide,” said Rep. Mike Pitts, chairman of a S.C. House law enforcement subcommittee.

State Tax Bill of $1.3M Pushes Goose Creek-Based Subway Franchisee to Bankruptcy Protection

Court documents show Goose Creek-based RK & Group Inc., which owns 10 Subway sandwich shops in the Charleston area, filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Columbia for a voluntary financial reorganization. The $1.6 million owed to creditors includes nearly $1.3 million toward the S.C. Department of Revenue for unpaid taxes. Owner Rhonda Kilgore, who had appeared in 2016 commercials as a local business owner for the national restaurant chain, will sell property to help settle the debt as her restaurants maintain daily operations, her lawyer said.

SC Keeps Appointment with Municipal Clerks Week

May 6-12 has been designated by House and Senate resolutions as Municipal Clerks Week in South Carolina. The position of City Clerk is South Carolina’s only municipal staff position that is required by state law, and they can be found in all SC’s 271 cities and towns. The position of clerk/treasurer, where the municipal clerk combines a role as finance officer, can be common in smaller and midsize cities. Also, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the SC Municipal Finance Officers, Clerks and Treasurers Association, which has more than 250 members.