Thursday, July 4, 2019

Remembering Operation Lost Trust

Were you in South Carolina when Operation Lost Trust broke open the issues of corruption and lobbyists' vote-buying in South Carolina government almost 30 years ago?

Recently I began reading the 600-page book titled Operation Lost Trust, by John V. Crangle. Crangle was the Executive Director of Common Cause/South Carolina from 1986 to 2016.

As I work my way through this tale of intrigue, I find myself thinking of the unresolved questions at the Richland 2 School District about the legitimacy of the School Board.

Operation Lost Trust quotes former S.C. House Speaker Bob Sheheen: "When you've got people involved in leadership who are under scrutiny, that reflects not only on them but on the institution." In the same paragraph on Page 43, Sheheen is further quoted: "you don't know what's coming next."

Sheheen's words ring true in 2019, not about the S.C. House, but about Richland 2 School District.

I have found myself at times becoming impatient with the wheels of justice and, at the same time, admiring the investigation and preparation skills of others who prepare such cases.

Thorough preparation often means that charges are announced and very quickly guilty pleas are entered. How does this happen? Defendants know that prosecutors have them "dead to rights".In other words, there is no way out of it for them.

The whole story will end up here one of these days.

An important decision was made by the School Board when it elected James Manning as the Board Chair for the 2019-2020 School Year. Manning is the longest-serving member of the Board, and he has been on the Board since 2010. His term as trustee runs to 2022.

The Board and the public are likely to see a noticeable change in leadership style. It may take him a month or two to institute changes. Meetings should be much better organized, smoother and shorter.