Saturday, January 18, 2020

R2 Ethics Poster

At last Tuesday's school board Regular Meeting, the inspiration moment was devoted to explaining the Ethical Principles poster that had been signed by all the board members and the taking of a group photo.

\You can view that segment near the beginning of the video-recording on YouTube. It's at 0:02:20 on the timer bar.

At the meeting I was immediately reminded of Amelia McKie's unpaid fines and fees balance of $51,750, owed to the South Carolina Ethics Commission. The fines are related a years' of unfiled required financial statements. In July 2018 the Commission issued a Decision & Order, and McKie basically thumbed her nose at the Commission and failed to make any payments toward her balance.

She could have avoided a substantial increase in the fees by making agreed-upon payments, but she did not. As a result, the Commission tacked on a $10,000 penalty at the end of 2018. Then, in July 2019 the Commission filed a Judgment in the Richland County Common Pleas Court.

What should be happening now is a collection effort by the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Collection action could include garnishing her income from the Richland 2 School District, other income or contract-work receipts, filing a lien on real estate, and taking of assets.

The DOR may be a failing collection agency, though, once you look at the $2.7 Million in outstanding debt owed to the Ethics Commission.

And then The State announced ethics problems of a second Richland County School Board member. James Shadd III owes $1,400 for unfiled financial documents related to his run for office in 2010.

Is this his first encounter with the Ethics Commission? Or did Shadd have a previous negotiated settlement with the Ethics Commission over different violations of ethics laws?

Ethics principles are like integrity and honesty and truth. You're either in or you're out. You reach the mark or you don't. There is no such thing as "very" or "almost" or "a little".

There is no reason for the Ethics Commission to negotiate on the $1,400 fine owed by Shadd. The State's reporter, Lucas DaPrile, wrote that Shadd told him on Friday (January 17, 2020) that he "was working to fix it." What Shadd should have dropped off at the Ethics Commission this week was a check for $1,400, as well as his campaign bank statements.