Thursday, July 25, 2019

Board can't control who sits on Board?

At the school board meeting on July 23, 2019, I made the following comments during the Public Participation segment of the meeting. These comments can be watched and heard on the YouTube recording of the meeting, starting at 9:57 on the meeting timer.

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.

Next Board Meeting - Tuesday, August 6

Richland 2 School Board meetings are normally on the second and fourth Tuesdays.

There will be a Special-Called Board Meeting on Tuesday, August 6, 2019.

The starting time for the Executive Session is scheduled for 5:30PM. The length of the executive session is being determined, and that will determine the starting time for the public session. It could be 6:00PM, 6:30PM, 7:00PM.

Monitor the Agenda on the District's website for more information. The Agenda will be published on Thursday, August 1.

Go to
At the upper right, click on EXPLORE
Then click on School Board
Then click on Agenda
Under Meetings, click on Regular Business Meeting (wording might change for this Special meeting)
Note the time for the start of the public session
Click on View the Agenda

At the July 23rd Board meeting, the Agenda for the "next" Board meeting was discussed and approved. They considered the "next" Board meeting to be the one on August 13.

The superintendent and the Board knew that the "next" Board meeting would be in two weeks on August 6. Why didn't they discuss the Agenda for that meeting?

There is this little thing called Transparency.

Could R2 have a bonding problem?

A local newspaper, The Independent Voice of Blythewood & Fairfield County, published an article on July 18 about a recently-appointed Fairfield County magistrate, whose bond application was denied by that county's bond insurer due to the new magistrate's credit.

That new magistrate quickly secured a bond independently and provided it to the county.

This caused me to wonder whether school board members must be bonded. I'm rather sure that they must, because their fiduciary responsibility is high.

If a school board trustee has credit problems that include foreclosure action and an unsatisfied judgment in a significant amount, would that cause a bonding company to cancel any bond that had been issued?

It's the School District that should require Trustees to be bonded.

Of course, if the person to be bonded is not actually a legal trustee, that will present its own problem for the bonding company.