By Theresa Stratford for The Island Connection
Town Clerk Faye Allbritton has seen quite a bit of change over the last 25 years on Seabrook Island. She has worked with nine of the last 10 mayors since the island became a town back in August 1987. Now, upon her retirement, Allbritton said that what she will miss the most about working for the Town of Seabrook Island are the people. “You may have to deal with a few that can be difficult but most of the people that I have dealt with over the years being on committees/commissions or mayor/council are just really nice people that want to help out even though there is no pay involved,” Allbritton said.
“By the time I work with a mayor/council for a full term or two terms, it almost feels like they are part of my family.” Originally a Georgia “peach,” Allbritton grew up in Eastman, Georgia. She had two much older siblings so she said she grew up as pretty much as an only child. She attended Georgia Southern University studying business administration from 1965 to 1969. Her first jobs out of college were with roofing companies in Savannah. In 1982, her husband decided he wanted to move to Charleston because he thought it would be a good place to start a transmission repair business. He opened a transmission repair shop in North Charleston and they lived in West Ashley for several years before settling down in a home they’ve lived in for more than 35 years. Allbritton said that she worked in her husband’s transmission repair shop for many years before she decided that she wanted to try something new. “I decided I would work for a temp agency and maybe I would find a job I would really be interested in doing full-time,” Allbritton continued. “After working for them for a short time, a council member came to the agency and interviewed three of us for a position at the Town Hall at Seabrook Island. I was picked and began working as a temporary employee in the summer of 1995. I was hired as a full-time employee in February 1996. I was considered something like an administrative assistant and remained in that position until the Town Clerk suddenly decided she was retiring in November 1998. With no training at all, I was suddenly made Town Clerk.” Allbritton said that at that time, the Town was not as busy so she was able to learn the bulk of the job by searching through files and trying to piece together what she needed to do. She fondly remembers attending classes that were held at the Municipal Association of South Carolina. “These classes were very informative and you met a lot of employees from towns all over South Carolina and they were always glad to help you and answer questions,” Allbritton said. She remembered when the Town of Seabrook Island’s offices were located in Bohicket Marina and the time that they were holding a public hearing about building a Town Hall when a terrible rain storm took place during the meeting in a room that had a leak. “It began raining so hard that we had to get large, galvanized trash cans to catch the water in the room where the meeting was held,” Allbritton said. “I don’t think anyone would say that we didn’t need to move after that!” The pandemic was also a memorable time for Allbritton. She said that she and Nichole Nettles, the administrative assistant for the Town of Seabrook, were the only ones working in the office for quite a while. “Working from home was not for us,” Allbritton said. “After a week or so, we started coming into the office and locking the door so there were only the two of us there most of the time. Both of us lived alone – without even a pet – so it was good to be able to talk to someone during the workday.” Allbritton said that she knows she is leaving the town in good hands with Katharine Watkins as the new town clerk/treasurer. “I know she is going to do an excellent job so the only advice I am going to offer is to provide good customer service,” Allbritton said. “When visitors, new property owners, etc. come into the Town Hall or call on the phone, whoever they talk to first will determine what kind of impression they have of Seabrook Island.” Watkins said, “Faye has been a wonderful mentor. One of the best things that she has done was to create a manual for everything that needs to be done and at what times they need to be completed. I hope I can be as successful as she has been for the Town of Seabrook Island.”
Allbritton added how impressed she has always been of Town Administrator Joe Cronin and his work ethic. “Joe is truly one of the most dedicated employees I have ever known and a true friend,” Allbritton said. “I definitely consider it a privilege to have worked with him these last few years.”
Allbritton looks forward to traveling more in retirement. “I love to spend time at the beach and am leaving, with my family, to go to St. Simons, the day after my last day at work,” Allbritton said. “I have also made plans to go with a friend to Anna Maria Island for two weeks in September and I have a trip planned with my college girlfriends for a week at the beach in October.” Allbritton has three daughters and five grandchildren. She said she hopes to spend more time with them and enjoy their activities during her retirement.
“I will certainly miss the people I work with when I retire but I am sure I will be out to visit often,” Allbritton added.