In tiny towns like Gifford, S.C., the municipal government consists of very few people. A dozen employees, most of whom are unpaid and work part-time, see to the needs of the town’s 289 citizens. Here, the entire city council -- Alvin Murdaugh, Lindsay Strong, Leon Blake and Horney Mitchell -- stands in front of the town hall, a former family home that was donated to the city.


Laquan Keith Mitchell, elected in 2013, is the fourth mayor of Gifford. His father is a councilman.


Municipal Judge Sheryl McKinney holds court once a month and typically hears a dozen cases, mostly traffic-related.


Clerk of the Court Patricia McTeer is often the only employee on duty at Gifford Town Hall.


Police Chief James Mitchell (no relation to the mayor) brings in a sizable portion of Gifford's revenue by writing tickets.


George Woods is always on call to take care of general maintenance.


Town Clerk Carleen Wright is also the treasurer.