Friday, August 23, 2019

Board Minutes Missing from Agenda

The Agenda for the August 27, 2019 school board meeting has been published, and it usually contains the Minutes of the last meeting.

The Minutes reveal the actions and decisions of the Board and who voted for or against Motions. The Minutes are the way for the Public to know what is going on.

The Minutes have been attached to the Agenda so that, with a click, one can read them. Except not this week.

The last meeting (August 13) was the one in which there was a Motion to approve the Superintendent's evaluation and his 12.3% raise. On that night two trustees voted against the Motion to Approve. The vote was 5-2.

The reasons given by both were the Super-Majority requirement to send the superintendent packing, if that's what the board decided to do. This would mean that five of the seven-member board would have to agree. There was no mention of what is probably a very healthy early-termination penalty that the District would have to cough it, if it wanted to replace the superintendent.

Somebody on the Board negotiated that with the superintendent, and so that language showed up in his contract. He certainly would have wanted it, but why would the board roll over. The board apparently wasn't allowed to nitpick the proposed contract renewal.

A third person, trustee-elect Holmes, didn't like the Super-Majority provision, but she didn't back it up with a No vote.

One trustee had a second reason for voting No. That second reason was the size of the superintendent's raise - 12.3%. She was right! And that was in addition to the STEP increase.

The Voice of Blythewood & Fairfield County newspaper reported on August 22 the following:

"On July 1, Davis’ salary rose from $191,904 to $197,661 after he accepted a STEP increase coupled with a 1 percent raise the district gave administrators.
"Six weeks later, the Richland Two Board of trustees tacked on another 12.3 percent, elevating the superintendent’s base pay to $221,973, fifth highest in the state, according to public records."
The increase from $191,094 to $197,661 is 3%. The superintendent also receives $18,000/year as a automobile allowance.

So, where are the Minutes for the August 13th meeting. I guess the public won't get a chance to read them before the August 27th meeting.

Do Lawyers for District Understand?

At the July 26 school board meeting I requested a meeting with the Board Chair and the attorney for the District. Mr. Manning said he'd meet with me informally. On August 3 I emailed him to request the meeting.

There could be a lot of reasons why he hasn't responded (yet).

On August 19 I emailed Kathryn Mahoney, attorney for Richland 2, and Frannie Heizer, Burr & Forman's bond counsel for Richland 2, to explain exactly why I have been complaining to the Board.

I explained to them that my complaint is not about the late filing of the Statements of Economic Interests by Amelia McKie and Teresa Holmes.

My complaint is that each took the oath of office illegally and that, until they do take it legally, they are not legal members of the Board.

The District has never contacted me to explain why my assertions are wrong. From that lack of contact, I can only assume that I am not wrong.

I also pointed out false, misleading and incomplete statements in the Richland 2 bond documents for a $26,000,000 sale of Bond Anticipation Notes.

Burr & Forman attempts to protect itself in the bond document by including this paragraph in the Legal Matters section, beginning on Page 51 of the sale document.

"Burr Forman McNair has assisted the School District by compiling certain information supplied to them by the School District and others and included in this Official Statement, but said firm has not made an independent investigation or verification of the accuracy, completeness or fairness of such information. The opinion of Burr Forman McNair will be limited solely to the legality and enforceability of the Notes, and no opinion will be given with respect to this Official Statement."

Did Richland 2 or its attorney ever tell Frannie Heizer of the ongoing questions about Amelia McKie's participation as a Board member and Board Chair? All of them should know about it, because Lindsay Agostini resigned from the Board Secretary position on April 26, rather than sign two documents associated with this sale. She would not risk personal or civil liability by signing a Certificate of Incumbency (related to McKie) and a Signature and No-Litigation Certification.

Neither Attorney Mahoney nor Attorney Heizer has acknowledged or replied to my August 19 emails. I didn't expect them to, but I certainly hope they will be questioning Board members, the Superintendent and the CFO as to what, exactly, is going on and why the Board hasn't fixed the issue by swearing in McKie and Holmes. McKie and Holmes first became eligible to take the oath of office on December 4, 2018.