Thursday, April 16, 2020

Public Participation at Board Meetings. Quorum?

If you look at the District's website just before agendas are published, you'll see the Public Participation rules of the Board.

Want to address the Board? Go to a meeting and you'll have three minutes to speak your piece.

Only you won't, because the Board suspended ("temporarily", they said) Public Participation at meetings until the end of April. But they don't tell you that on the website. Is it a big, dark secret?

What the Board did not discuss at the last meeting was its decision about public attendance. If you can get in the door, you won't be able to speak. But can you even get in the door?

What will happen on Tuesday night, April 21, at the Special-Called Board Meeting?

By State law, board meetings are to be open to the public.

Watch the agenda for the starting time.

Will the Board have a quorum in person at the meeting? A quorum is five. I contend it's five in person, not by teleconference. Without five board members present in person, the Board cannot legally meet.

Another dilemma for the Board is that it currently allows two trustees-elect to act as if they are legitimate board members. Amelia McKie and Teresa Holmes have never legally taken the oath of office.

Both of them took the oath on November 13, 2018, before they were eligible to do so. The State law is clear. First you file your Statement of Economic Interest Reprt with the South Carolina Ethics Commission; then you take the oath of office. They filed their SEIs on December 4, three weeks after taking the oath.

So to have a quorum on April 21, all five of the "real" Trustees must attend in person; that means Manning, Agostini, Elkins-Johnson, Shadd, and Caution-Parker must be there in person and not "attending" by phone.

I may be one of very few people in Richland County who believe the law is important and to be followed.