I was cautioned twice by the Board Chair; both times were done so politely, professionally and respectfully.
First, my comments:
"Over the past four months I have many conversations with law enforcement and other agencies regarding the problems that I have called to the attention of the Board.
"Among my contacts have been the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the South Carolina Ethics Commission, the Attorney General, SLED, the South Carolina Dept. of Education, the Governor’s Office, my State Senator and my State Representative, the School Boards Association, and others.
"In a March meeting at the Sheriff’s Department, a sergeant-investigator asked me if I wanted Mrs. McKie and Ms. Holmes “kicked off the board” (his words). I answered that I did not. All I wanted was for them to take the oath of office and become legal members of the board.
"I still do.
** First caution occurred here.
"The purpose of my comments tonight is to request a meeting with the Board Chair and the attorney for the School District to discuss two matters.
1. 1. Why the District believes that two trustees-elect, who did not legally take the oath of office, are allowed to sit on the Board, and
** Second caution occurred here.
2. 2. Whether the District has engaged in securities fraud because of erroneous, misleading and incomplete information in the bond documents for the $26,000,000 sale of Bond Anticipation Notes on April 11 of this year.
"I will contact Mr. Manning to arrange the meeting."
Regarding the first caution, I disagree that a member of the public use a board member's name in Public Participation or cannot repeat a comment about two board members made by a law-enforcement officer. The important part is that I disagreed with that law-enforcement officer.
Regarding the second caution, I disagree that the School Board does not have jurisdiction over who sits at the Board. It's not a matter of ethics; it's a matter of legality. I was told that the Board does not have direct control over whether a person is illegally on the Board.
If the Board doesn't have control over who sits on it, why couldn't anyone just show up at a meeting and take a seat in one of the nice chairs at the front of the room?
Mrs. McKie and Ms. Holmes have never legally taken the oath of office and cannot be on the Board officially, until they do. On December 4, 2018 they first became eligible to take the oath of office, because that is the date they filed their Statement of Economic Interests Reports. The law (S.C. Code of Laws §8-13-1110(A)) is clear.