How fiscally responsible should a school board trustee be?
Should a board member be able to add and subtract? And get a correct total?
Previous Board Chair and trustee-elect (since Nov. 13, 2018), Amelia McKie, still owes $51,750 to the State Ethics Commission. She has not paid one penny in two years toward her debt. A judgment was filed more than a year ago (July 2019) in the Richland County Common Pleas Court, and apparently the S.C. DOR has not been able to collect on it yet.
Each quarter McKie must file a Campaign Disclosure Report with the South Carolina Ethics Commission. It's a simple report; just a few lines. If you keep decent records, it should take about five minutes to complete and file online. It's a public document. To view her reports, go to ethics.sc.gov At the top right, click on Public Reporting. Click on Individual Financial Reports. Click on Candidate Reports. In the Candidate Last Name field, type McKie. Click on Next. Click on her name for Election Date 11/6/2018. Select a report; any report.
And it's even simpler and faster to complete and file, if you've had no activity since the last quarterly report. But that doesn't mean you should blindly copy the previous numbers, assuming an error hasn't been made.
McKie has a problem filing the quarterly reports on time. The Report due January 10, 2020 was late (2/11/20). The Report due April 10, 2020 was late (4/16/20). The Report due July 10, 2020 was late (7/16/20). The Report due October 10, 2020 was early (9/10/20) and then amended (10/8/20).
A cursory glance at the Report filed for Filing Period October 10 (and amended) shows an error that is easily noticed, if the filer is paying attention.
McKie reports $8,943.25 in Total Contributions, including none received in the quarter ending 9/30/20.
She reports $5,725.78 in total Expenditures, including none in the quarter. And this is where the error is.
She lists In-Kind Expenditures of $17.50 and Expenditures of $5,208.28. OK, now you do the math. You've heard of approximating? rounding off; right? If you are using the left side of your brain, you know the sum is going to be approximately $5,225. You know it is not going to be $5,725.78.
Where is the elusive $500 in missing expenditures? This arithmetical error goes back for several reports. Proof, I guess, that the S.C. Ethics Commission doesn't care what you put on your Report; just so long as you file it.
Will any of this matter when McKie is up for re-election in two years?
Is McKie ever going to pay off her judgment and debt to the Ethics Commission? If she applied her entire School Board Trustee gross monthly income of $800 to it, it will take her 65 months to pay it off. That's 5 years 5 months.
If she pays only $100/month toward it, it will take her 518 months to pay it off. That's 43 YEARS.
Do she intend to pay any of it?