Sunday, June 28, 2020

Board: Swear in McKie, Holmes

The Richland 2 School District has once again been asked to swear in Amelia McKie and Teresa Holmes.

S.C. Code of Laws §8-13-1110 reads:
SECTION 8-13-1110. Persons required to file statement of economic interests.

(A) No public official, regardless of compensation, and no public member or public employee as designated in subsection (B) may take the oath of office or enter upon his official responsibilities unless he has filed a statement of economic interests in accordance with the provisions of this chapter with the appropriate supervisory office.

There is nothing difficult to understand about the wording of that law. It is clear as day. It is indisputable.

That the law was violated by McKie and Holmes is a fact, because their notarized oath-of-office documents are dated November 13, 2018. They had not filed their Statements of Economic Interests. They didn't file their SEIs until December 4, 2018.

McKie and Holmes were qualified to serve as school board trustees, because they were elected. However, they were not eligible to serve until they filed their SEIs. They became eligible on December 4, 2018. That was the first date they could legally take the oath of office.

The following letter was sent to the board earlier today, with copies to the attorney for the school district, a FOIA/Robert's Rules of Order expert, the S.C. Attorney General, and the Deputy A.G. who examined my complaint last year.

Good afternoon, Mr. Manning,

As your final board meeting as Chair approaches for the 2019-2020 school year, will you please consider administering the oath of office to Amelia McKie and Teresa Holmes, so that they will finally become legitimate members of the Richland 2 School Board. It is not too late to amend the agenda for the June 30, 2020 board meeting for this item.

On November 13, 2018, after they were elected, each took the oath of office before she was eligible to do so. Neither had filed her Statement of Economic Interests with the South Carolina Ethics Commission.

McKie and Holmes did not become eligible to take the oath until December 4, 2018, when each filed her SEI.. To the best of my knowledge and belief, the oath of office has not been administered to either on or after December 4, 2018. According to South Carolina law, they are usurping the official office of school board trustee.

There is a simple, quick and free remedy. Administer the oath of office to each. 

The District has paid compensation to them for trustee meetings, paid expenses on their behalf and may have reimbursed them for other expenses. These payments and expenses could constitute illegal disbursements of taxpayer and government funds. District employees who handle such disbursements could end up at risk for doing so.

As a school district desiring to be known as "premier", shouldn't this problem be corrected?


Gus Philpott

cc: Kathryn Mahoney
      Helen McFadden
      Alan Wilson, S.C. Attorney General
      Creighton Waters, S.C. Deputy Attorney General