Paul Brawley was elected Richland County Auditor in November 2006. A Columbia businessman, Brawley is a graduate of Limestone College. He earned dual master’s degrees in business and management from Webster University and is a graduate of the S.C. Executive Institute. Brawley is a lifelong resident of Richland County and an active community advocate in Lower Richland, where he and his family reside.
He serves on numerous professional and community boards in the Midlands. In 1995, he was a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto from Gov. Carroll A. Campbell. He is also the recipient of the Smithsonian Institute Computerworld Medal for Innovation in Technology in the Public Sector. Brawley’s previous public service includes positions as a senior staff member in the Governor’s Office, an executive staff member at the Department of Social Services, and an adjunct professor in the business department at Midlands Technical College.
Brawley says his focus as Richland County Auditor is to work with organizations within the County to ensure residents understand their entitlements regarding their taxes and to provide a friendly environment within the Auditor’s Office for the people of Richland County.
Jeanette McBride is a lifelong resident of Columbia, graduating from C.A. Johnson High School and earning a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management from Voorhees College, along with a Master Teacher’s Certification in Career and Technology Education.
As the Richland County Clerk of Court, Mrs. McBride pledges to ensure that prompt, accurate and courteous service is provided to legal professionals, the public and court officials. Her vision is to use cutting-edge technology in carrying out the responsibilities of the Clerk of Court’s daily operations, thereby improving quality and efficiency.
Prior to being elected Clerk of Court in 2008, Mrs. McBride was a member of the Richland School District One Board of Commissioners, serving as Secretary-Treasurer, as well as the South Carolina School Boards Association Level 4 Board Institute. She is a retired educator who was named Teacher of the Year at Heywood Career & Technology Center as well as being selected an Outstanding Teacher by the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Throughout her teaching career, Mrs. McBride served as a school advisor for students who were members of a national student organization. This experience allowed her to train students in leadership and interpersonal skills. She also served as a member of the Richland County Conservation Commission.
When not overseeing the operations of the Richland County Judicial Center, Mrs. McBride can be found volunteering. She is a former member of the 100 Black Women of the Midlands and was active in supporting the United Black Fund of the Midlands Inc. Mrs. McBride also is the past President of the Columbia Council of Neighborhoods and Midland Terrace Neighborhood Association. She presently serves as President of Ward 18. She has served as Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Richland One Middle College Board of Directors. Most recently, Mrs. McBride was named to the Columbia Housing Authority Wall of Fame. This honor was based on being a positive role model to students and on her exemplary achievements in life.
McBride is married to Frank E. McBride and is a proud mother of their three children. She is a member of Second Nazareth Baptist Church.
Coroner Gary Watts
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts is no stranger to public service. Prior to being elected Coroner, he served as Deputy Coroner in Richland County for more than 15 years and was involved in more than 7,500 death investigations. His professional experience also includes having served as a police officer, an emergency medical technician and an investigator with the Richland County Public Defender’s Office.
Watts is a graduate of the Institute of Police Technology and Management, University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. His studies included homicide investigations, advanced traffic investigations and traffic accident reconstruction. He also attended the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy.
In addition to his experience and education, Watts is active in professional organizations, providing another avenue for supporting his community. He is a member of the S.C. Division of the International Association for Identification. He also serves as president for the S.C. Coroner’s Association and as chairman for the Richland County Child Health and Safety Council's Child Fatality Review Committee. Watts formerly served as the chairman for Midlands Safe Kids.
His objective as Richland County Coroner is to create the most experienced and modern office to work with law enforcement, the legal system and residents. This will ensure that each case is quickly and fairly resolved, always with respect to those involved. Watts also endeavors to develop a proactive approach to help reduce injuries and deaths by using new and innovative ideas in the community, with special attention to traffic and other accidental causes.
Judge Amy McCulloch graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology in 1987. She attended the University of South Carolina School of Law, graduating in May 1990.
She was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in November 1990. Judge McCulloch began her legal career clerking for Judge Tom Ervin, State Circuit Judge, and Judge William Catoe, Federal Magistrate. In 1991, she became an Assistant Solicitor for Richland County. She remained at the Richland County Solicitor's Office, supervising other attorneys and prosecuting cases, until December 1996.
Prior to her election as the Probate Judge for Richland County in November 1998, Judge McCulloch had been in private practice with her husband, Joe McCulloch. During this time, she handled a general practice, including probate matters, personal injury and worker's compensation, while managing the firm. Judge McCulloch was also an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina and Midlands Technical College, teaching courses in business law, civil law, criminal law and ethics.
Judge McCulloch was sworn in as Richland County Probate Judge in January 1999. Since that time, she has created a website for the Richland County Probate Court, allowing public access to information and forms needed to probate estates. She served as president of the S.C. Association of Probate Judges from October 2003 through 2004. She is also a member of the S.C. Association of Counties and the National College of Probate Judges.
Judge McCulloch has been an instructor for the S.C. Court Administration, Mandatory School for Magistrates and the S.C. Bar's Bridge the Gap mandatory sessions for new lawyers. She serves on the board for Midlands Technical College's Legal Division.
Born in Aiken in 1953, Sheriff Leon Lott attended the University of South Carolina-Aiken, earning an associate degree in police administration. He went on to attend the University of South Carolina-Columbia, earning a bachelor's degree in sociology, and continued his graduate study for a master's degree in criminal justice. Later, Sheriff Lott graduated from the FBI National Academy, the FBI National Executive Institute and Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Sheriff Lott came to the Richland County Sheriff's Department in 1975 as a patrol officer. He advanced thereafter to various positions, including Criminal Investigator, Narcotics Agent, Lieutenant and Captain of Narcotics Division, Administrative Captain, Uniform Patrol Captain, and Watch Commander. In 1993, Sheriff Lott took the position of Chief of Police for St. Matthews.
In 1996, he made a successful run for Sheriff of Richland County. Upon taking office, Sheriff Lott turned the direction of the department to "community-oriented policing."
Byron E. Gipson was elected in November 2018 to serve as the Solicitor for the Fifth Circuit, covering Richland and Kershaw counties. A graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law and the College of Charleston, Gipson served as a law clerk in the Fifth Judicial Circuit Court and worked for a local law firm, where he gained experience in criminal trials and personal injury litigation. Gipson is active in the community and holds membership in various professional organizations. He was sworn into office in January 2019.
Richland County Treasurer David Adams was first elected in November 2002 and sworn in to service on July 1, 2003. As Treasurer, his priorities are to shorten lines and response times for residents, increase payment options and work toward instituting a system of installment tax payments. The ultimate goal is to allow residents choices in how to best meet their tax obligations. He is working to ensure appropriate and prudent checks, balances and internal controls for Richland County Government’s finances. David is intent on creating office policies that treat each taxpayer equally.
Prior to being elected Richland County Treasurer, David was the Director of Information for the South Carolina State Treasurer’s Office. In that role, he was responsible for interaction on Treasury issues with residents, media, state and local government agencies, and the General Assembly. He was on the committee that created the college savings program FutureScholar with Bank of America. He also helped create Big Money Monday with WLTX-TV to return money held by the state to its rightful owners around South Carolina.
For information about the elected members of Richland County Council, please visit County Council.