Amelia McKie is sitting on $4,265.01 in her political campaign fund. This means she must file quarterly campaign disclosure reports. The reports are due for Calendar Year quarters. Reports are to be filed by the 10th day of the month after the end of the quarter. For those who have a hard time calculating this, the reports are due by January 10, April 10, July 10, October 10.
By that calendar the Campaign Disclosure Report for the second quarter of 2019 (April 10-June 30) was due July 10.
Since July 8th I've been monitoring the Ethics Commission's public information found behind the Online Reporting link on a daily basis. Each day I have checked; each day there was no report for the second quarter. This morning there was no report for the second quarter. Today is July 18; the report was due July 10.
And finally, today, July 18, 2019 her report for the second quarter was filed.
Riddle me this...
McKie was fined for numerous filing violations and now owes the S.C. Ethics Commission $51.750 under a Decision & Order No. C2017-023, dated July 3, 2018. As of July 9, 2019 she had not paid. The Ethics Commission will file a Judgment in that amount to be entered on the Judgment Rolls of the Richland Court Clerk of Court's Office.
One would think that McKie would have begun paying close attention to filing all required reports on time. By January 9, 2019 she had filed numerous past-due reports. All are of public record and can be found on the website for the S.C. Ethics Commission at ethics.sc.gov
For the 4th Quarter 2018 McKie filed her Campaign Disclosure Report on time (1/9/19).
The next quarterly report was due April 10, 2019. When did she file it? MAY 8, 2019. LATE!
The next quarterly report was due July 10, 2019. When did she file it? JULY 18, 2019. LATE!
The School Board counts her as one of seven Board members. I do not. She is a Trustee-elect, not a Trustee, for reason I have written about extensively.
What possible valid reason could she have for missing two filing deadliness this year?
There is are procedures for removing her from the Board.
One is S.C. Code of Law Section 59-19-60.
Board Policy BCA - Board Member Code of Ethics. It reads, in part, "School board members are under the jurisdiction of the 'Ethics, Government Accountability, and Campaign Reform Act,' S.C. Code Section 8-13-100 et seq. School board members are expected to comply with the act." [emphasis added] I am not aware of any record of discipline by the School Board for McKie's repeated violations of Board Policy BCA.
A second way is that Governor McMaster could remove her, if he found her failures to file the required returns in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 to be acts of moral turpitude.
Being a Trustee of a billion-dollar school district is an incredible responsibility. Can this district tolerate any longer a Board member is so inattentive to such a very basic obligation? Oh, wait; she's not really a Board member.
Thursday, July 18, 2019
Reporter Michael Smith of The Independent Voice of Blythewood & Fairfield County contacted me for a comment after the Richland 2 School Board elected its officers for 2019-2020.
In his July 3, 2019 article on www.blythewoodonline.com he correctly reported my position, when he wrote "Philpott maintains that McKie and Holmes aren’t legally allowed to serve because neither filed Statements of Economic interest forms until after taking the oath of office. State law prohibits elected officials from taking the oath when SEI forms haven’t been filed."
Further Smith quoted me correctly, when he wrote, “They are, in my opinion, not legal board members,” Philpott said. “Teresa Holmes was nominated for the position of vice chair and was elected. My contention is since she is not a board member, she cannot serve as an officer.”
Smith also contacted Trustee-elect Teresa Holmes, and Smith wrote, "Holmes said she doesn’t plan to step down, and disputes that she’s not legally qualified to serve on the board.":
Smith quoted Holmes: “There is no reason that he should continue to say that,” Holmes said. “He knows that that’s not true."
So, basically, Holmes is calling me a liar.
Teresa Holmes has a Ph.D. She should be able to understand the law and that the order of the words in the law in important.
Why do I continue to say she is not a legal member of the Board? It's as simple as 1-2-3. While she is legally “qualified”, she is not legally “entitled” to serve on the Board.
1. At the time Holmes took the oath of office on November 13, 2018, she was "qualified" to be a member of the Board, because she had been elected.
2. However, when she took the oath of office on November 13, 2018, she was not eligible to take it, because she had not filed the required Statement of Economic Interests Report with the South Carolina Ethics Commission. Therefore, it is as if she never took the oath of office. The oath that she did take has no force or effect.
3. She filed the required Statement on December 4, 2018, but she has never taken the oath of office legally; i.e., after she filed the Statement.
Because Holmes hasn't taken the oath of office, she is NOT a legal Board member. And, because she is not a legal Board member, she cannot serve as Board Vice Chair. She is only a Trustee-elect, not a Trustee. She is NOT entitled to sit at the Board or to vote or to attend Executive Sessions or to serve as Board Vice Chair. She is not entitled to receive Trustee compensation or have any expenses paid or reimbursed for meetings, conferences, out-of-town Association meetings, etc. Nor should Amelia McKie, for the same reasons. All monies paid to or for McKie and Holmes should be returned to Richland 2 School District.
Richland 2 School District has never provided me with any response or statement regarding my allegations. It has informed me that "The District’s legal counsel continues to advise us that actions taken by the Board are valid under these circumstances." That statement is NOT a response to my allegations. And it’s only true if a quorum of legal Board members was in attendance.
As early as mid-March I suggested to the Board that there was a simple "fix" to this problem. Holmes and McKie need to raise their right hands and take the oath of office. Then, and only then, will they become legal board members.
As soon as they do, then the Board will have to re-examine every vote on or since November 13, 2018 that was affected by votes by McKie and Holmes. Many decisions will change.
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