Friday, May 17, 2019

Bond document - True but incomplete and misleading

On April 30, 2019 Lindsay Agostini resigned as Board Secretary of the Richland 2 School Board. She continues to serve as a Trustee of the School Board.

Her reason for resigning was the personal or civil risk she believed she might have, if she signed two documents associated with the half-Billion dollars in new bonds for the School District. For more detail about her resignation, click here.

Mrs. Agostini did not want to sign as Board Secretary on the Certificate of Incumbency. As Custodian of Official Records of the District, she was being asked to confirm McKie is Board Chair and to confirm McKie's dates of office as Board Chair as 7/1/2018 - 6/30/2019.

Mrs. Agostini did not want the personal risk of signing official documents that might not be true.

Mrs. Agostini also refused to sign the "Signature and No-Litigation Certificate" and she read the language of that addendum:

"The school district is aware that members of the public have called for the resignation of the current board chair because of fines owed by the board chair to the South Carolina State Ethics Commission and because the Board Chair did not have on file a current Statement of Economic Interest prior to being sworn into a second term as a member of the board. The school district is not aware of any litigation, regulatory effort or official proceeding challenging the board's right [sic] and title to serve as a board member or board chair.”

Mrs. Agostini and I have not spoken about these documents, and I have no idea what her attorney told her.

My opinion? 

While the wording is factually correct, it is incomplete and significantly misleading. She was right not to sign. 

I think it is a very dangerous act to mislead bondholders of a half-billion dollar set of bonds. If the underwriter knew the entire story, would they be nervous about selling these bonds? 

I was a Series 7 stockbroker years ago, and these addenda are red flags. Corporate bond purchasers do read prospectuses. Does the Richland 2 bond attorney really understand the serious questions about McKie?

Will Mr. Shadd protect himself by also refusing to sign?

Henry M. Robert - DOA 5/14/2019

If Henry M. Robert had been at the May 14, 2019 Richland 2 School Board meeting, he would have been pronounced DOA at 10:30PM. Lucky for him, he died in 1923 at age 86.

Mr. Robert published Robert's Rules of Order in 1876.

The Richland 2 Board would be well-advised to purchase a copy for each board member and superintendent and to commence a year's study of the Rules. And apply them.

If they did, there would never be another four-hour board meeting.

From its website,, comes "Robert's Rules of Order is the standard set of rules first published in 1876 by Henry M. Robert to run orderly meetings with maximum fairness to all members.".

What a concept! "Maximum fairness to all members" That would include not subjecting them to the cruel and unusual punishment and torture of a four-hour meeting (after 90 minutes of other meetings).

Special Board Meeting - May 20, 2019, 5:00PM

A Special Meeting of the Richland 2 School Board has been called for Monday, May 20, 2019 at 5:00PM.

The entire meeting is scheduled as open.

From 5:00-5:30PM there is a public input session on the budget for 2019-2020.

Leave your kids at school or at their after-school function and attend this meeting.
Leave work early so you can be there.
Tell your kids that there are left-overs in the refrigerator and that they are on their own for dinner.
Tell them not to put metal in the microwave.
Feed the dog early.

At 6:30PM the Board is set to approve the 2019-2020 Budget and will vote on three more of those "most important" Board Policies that must have their valuable attention.

There is no Public Participation segment in the Special Meeting.

Will this public meeting, from 5:00PM to the time of adjournment, be recorded and posted on YouTube?

Where is the video of the April 23, 2019 Special Meeting? On May 8 I inquired when it would be posted, and the responder said she would check on it.

Did an ethics violation occur on May 14?

While Amelia McKie was lavishing praise on Supt. Davis in her closing comments at the May 14, 2019 Board meeting, she threw in a statement that, to me, appeared to be unethical.

I think she thanked every living soul in Richland County, except me, as she said (at 3:53:38):

"I thank you all who are continuing to focus on policies that affect our district and, by doing so,
honoring the 26,000-plus voters who sent me here for my fifth year of service."

This is a political statement and cannot be allowed at a meeting of a public body.

I intend to find out whether this is a violation of South Carolina Ethics laws.

School District employees do not do their jobs to "honor" those who voted for McKie. They do their jobs because they like the work and get paid to do it. It has absolutely nothing to do with the voters!

"Wiil of the Board" - what is it?

The phrase "will of the board" is starting to creep into use at Richland 2 School Board meetings.

The person acting as Chair throws the words out and then never proceeds to learn what the Will of the board really is. This happened on May 14.

There is only one way for the board to know what the "will of the board" is and that is to have a vote. To have a vote, a board member is going to have to make a Motion. And then somebody will have to second it. (Did you watch how long it took on May 14 to get a motion just to re-convene in public session at 6:30PM?)

And then the vote will decide what the "will of the board" is. Right now the person acting as Board Chair declares what the will of the board is. And that is wrong!

But the Board Chair might not allow such a motion or vote, because it's not on the Agenda.


At the end of the meeting Mrs. Agostini asked for two items to be added to the agenda for the May 28th meeting: 1. a cell phone tower report and 2. having the bond attorney attorney attend to answer questions about the addenda to the bond documents (that she refused to sign).

Fast-forward to (3:34:55) in the District's video on YouTube for the May 14, 2019 meeting {Yes! That's 3 hours 34 minutes (so far)) for the discussion of items for the May 28th Agenda. Notice during Supt. Davis' prefacing remarks that McKie is fanning herself. It wasn't hot in the board room. Why is she hot?

McKie was asleep at the switch and not prepared to proceed with the meeting after Supt. Davis finished with his boilerplate comments for the next meeting's agenda. Had McKie been attentive, she would have scrolled forward on her tablet as he spoke and proceeded without delay to ask for board suggestions.

Proceeding with a Motion without first getting the motion complete was an error. Did McKie have an idea what Mrs. Agostini wanted to propose? Mr. Shadd then made a motion to accept the agenda as proposed by the superintendent. While he was making the motion, which included removal of an item, Davis and Elkins-Johnson were engaged in a side conversation.

Side conversations in public meetings ARE NOT PERMITTED, because the public cannot hear what is said. It's not just disrespectful, it would be contrary, I suspect, to Board Policy, ethics and state law. Whatever is said by a public official at a public meeting must be audible to the public!

Caution-Parker seconded Shadd's Motion. Elkins-Johnson didn't hear it. How will she vote?

At (3:38:05) Mrs. Agostini was recognized. She asked for a cell phone tower update and she asked for the bond attorney to attend to discuss the recommended changes by the Superintendent to the litigation certificate that the board was not briefed on as it pertains to the Board Chair's ethics violations and fines. McKie blew right past Mrs. Agostini's requests and proceeded to the vote.

At (3:40:12), during Board & Superintendent Comments, Mrs. Agostini commented that the Board is talking the talk, but she asked if it is walking the walk. She referred to the Amelia McKie's having missed the deadline for filing the required Campaign Disclosure Report with the Ethics Commission, after McKie promised in January it wouldn't happen again.

The other board members passed on making comments. They knew how long they had been there and how long the audience had sat there. Then the superintendent and McKie, instead of quickly closing the meeting, droned on for another 12 minutes! Regarding graduations Supt. Davis could have just said, "It's late. See the schedule online." And McKie should have just adjourned the meeting.

Instead, McKie (3:48:16) spewed on for six minutes and said she "wouldn't dignify certain accusations". In other words, she wouldn't acknowledge the truth! Watch her suck up to the superintendent, as she says that Supt. Davis praised all his staff at the Teacher Appreciation Dinner "except himself".

Does this even make sense?

Then McKie praised herself extensively and thanked the 26,000 voters who sent her for her fifth term. (See separate article about this!)

McKie said the staff takes time on their own to come to board meetings and make presentations. Whom does she think she is kidding? When the Superintendent tells a department head that he's up at the next meeting, there is no "voluntary" involved.

While McKie was droning away, Elkins-Johnson and Davis had another side conversation.

Listen to the drivel that came out of McKie's mouth at the end of the meeting. It's a wonder someone didn't stand up and shout, "AMELIA, SHUT UP."

McKie must have learned a new word on her vocabulary list last week - the word, "Phenomenal." She used it at least 12 times in her closing comments.

The meeting adjourned at 3:54:26. Inexcusable!

Pledge of Allegiance

When is the last time you recited the Pledge of Allegiance?

Did you just mouth the words? Did you speak each word clearly and with feeling? Did you face the U.S. Flag? Did you place your hand over your heart?

This video is of  a 1969 episode of The Red Skelton Show.

"Red" lived from 1913 until 1997 - 84 years. Think of the changes he saw during his lifetime.

Whenever you say the Pledge, remember Red Skelton's words. Have your kids watch this with you.