Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Worst Meeting Ever (corrected)

You must watch the beginning of the Special Called Board Meeting for November 17, 2020. I'm so glad that I viewed it online and did not waste my time going to R2i2. I probably would have pulled a "Joe Wilson" and shouted "You lie."

Teresa Holmes, as Vice-Chair (although not really), opened the meeting. Notice right from the top how many times she pounded the gavel on the table. The room was quiet and waiting to begin. How many times? Five. FIVE! One rap would have been enough. Was she feeling the power of the Chair?

The first order of business was the approval of the agenda. Why aren't trustees ready to respond as soon as the Chair calls for the motion. Actually, the interval was pretty short this week. Shorter than usual.

The next item on the agenda was the nomination for a Board Chairman, (who would succeed James Shadd and serve until June 30, 2021).

Before she even called for a motion, Holmes grabbed the floor tooted her own horn by making a long-winded statement that, should she be nominated, she would prefer to serve out her term as Vice Chair. At least three times she referred to the period between this meeting (November 17, 2020) and the end of the School Year (June 30, 2021) as a "couple of months". She's got a Ph.D. Can't she count? November, December, January, February, March, April, May, June. Looks like seven-plus months to me. She spoke some drivel about the pandemic being the reason for not considering her as Board Chair until the June election for the board officers for 2021-2022.

She babbled on and on about the need for "consistency" during the pandemic. She showed clearly her lack of understanding of how business boards function. It was clear that she wants to be Board Chair. Maybe one of her friends on The Squad told her that she would be nominated. Her reasoning and plea were unnecessary and very poorly presented.

Talk about ego and being presumptious!!! 

There was a very simple way for her to avoid being considered as an interim Board Chair. If she had been nominated, when asked if she accepted the nomination, all she would have to do is say a single word. "No." Listen for yourself to her grandstanding and to her statement that she does want to be Board Chair.

What was she really saying? "Pick me. Pick me. Pick me - but later." Like a kid on a playground.

You can be sure that The Squad will nominate her in June 2021.

It's for the children, don't you know? Consistency is needed. Baloney!

Somebody should have interrupted her with "Point of Order!"

At 03:45 on the timer the superintendent took charge of the meeting (without a proper introduction) to read the procedure for board officer elections (as they happen in June). There was no reason whatsoever to read all of that for the election of a single officer at this time. In fact, he ignored state law, when he said they would nominate and elect only the Board Chair.

State law dictates that TWO officers were to be elected, but the Richland 2 Board and superintendent ignored it.

SECTION 59-19-70. Chairman and clerk of board.
The trustees shall, as soon as practicable after the appointment of any new trustee, organize by the election of one of their members as chairman and another as clerk of the board. The chairman shall preside at meetings of the board and perform other duties imposed on him under the law, and the clerk shall keep a record of the proceedings of all meetings in a book provided for that purpose and perform all other duties required of him by law.

The Secretary of the Board is the "clerk" referred to in the law. Richland 2 failed to elect a clerk/Secretary tonight.

A question was asked of the superintendent whether a second was need. He said there wasn't. Then he was asked if there was discussion. Again he said there was not.

Here's a question. What if a member knew of information that, if the board knew about it, they would not elect the nominee? We'll never know. (I have no reason to think that was the case regarding Mr. Manning's nomination.)

Dr. Elkins wanted some discussion, but the superintendent said Robert's Rules of Order didn't call for discussion following a nomination, although it does for a Motion. But Robert's doesn't say you cannot have discussion. Elkins failed to make that follow-up point and assert her privilege of speaking. I can't imagine what she wanted to "discuss", since there was only one nomination. But why wasn't she allowed to say what she wanted to say? And why didn't she demand the time to speak?

Dr. Franklin summarized from her copy and found nothing about discussion. The superintendent said he had done his own research. Discussion should have been allowed.

James Manning was nominated and elected (5-2 vote) to serve as Board Chair until June 30, 2021.

At 12:55 on the timer, the superintendent turned the meeting over to the elected Chair, James Manning. 

Be sure to watch Holmes tell him to "Come get your gavel." Whoa! Wait just a minute. She should have gotten up and taken the gavel to him. What was that all about??? The superintendent stood up and delivered the gavel. 

Bad move, Teresa. You don't deserve to ever be Chair!

At 13:25 then the real game of the evening began. This was the nomination of a Region 8 Director for the South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA).

Manning explained that there was already a letter into the SCSBA for McKie to be on their board. "Somebody" brought to the board's attention that they needed to do it correctly and vote on it. 

Agostini was nominated and McKie was nominated. At this point Dr. Elkins raised a question about the letter. That was the wrong time for her question. There was a motion on the floor. It should have been seconded before discussion or questions.

The "somebody" who brought it to the attention of the Richland 2 board was Trustee Agostini. Dr. Elkins asked why the nomination was on tonight's agenda. The SCSBA wanted the board to vote to confirm the action that had previously been taken and the letter that had been sent that named McKie. So the Board was being asked to retroactively approve something that a single board member had done. The Board was being asked to clean up a mess that Manning had created when he was Chair. 

Manning also disallowed further discussion, based on the false position of the superintendent. 

With two nominees for the one position on the SCSBA board, Manning should have called for a paper vote. Instead, he asked, in fairness to all, for a vote on the first nomination. The entire room could not be seen on the Zoom broadcast, and the vote was not announced. It was probably 2-5. (See the next vote.) Well,, that was fair, wasn't it? NOT. There should have been a secret vote, with only the result announced!!!

Then McKie was voted on, and the vote was 5-2.

No record of the vote was shown to the public. Who voted against Mrs. Agostini? My guess is that The Squad voted against her, with a little help from their friends.

Dr. Elkins wisely asked how long the Region 8 Director would serve on behalf of Richland 2. Only until the end of the 2020-2021 School Year? No, it's for the remainder of the SCSBA term, 2020-2024.

The Region 8 Director serves Richland 1 and Richland 2, and Amelia McKie slid into that position in some mysterious fashion after Richland 1's Jamie Devine vacated the post. Manning authored a letter when he was chair of the board. He said he had the support of the board, but there never was a vote that selected McKie as the Region 8 Director.

Mrs. Agostini made an emphatic statement that the Board had never voted on McKie's appointment to the SCSBA Board Region 8 Director position, which is a four-year term (McKie was serving the remainder of Jamie Devine's term).

The new member of the board, Lashonda McFadden, lined right up with The Squad. I wonder how many phone calls she got from "certain" board members to encourage her to support McKie.


Amelia McKie cannot serve as the SCSBA Region 8 Director, because she is not a legal member of the Richland 2 School Board.

The problem of two illegitimate board members continues. All McKie and Holmes have to do to become legitimate board members is raise their right hands and be sworn in. They became eligible to take the oath of office on December 4, 2018, when they filed their Statements of Economic Interests with the South Carolina Ethics Commission.

Is anyone disgusted about this?

[EDITED 11/18/20 3:30PM after the video-recording was published.]

Expiration Date?

For several months I have wondered whether there is an expiration date on a trustee-elect qualification to take an oath of office.

If a candidate for office wins an election but never takes the oath of office, is the office really vacant?

The situation in the Richland 2 School District is this.

Two candidates in the November 6, 2018 election were voted into office. However, they have never legally taken the oath of office. Two years have passed.

They have usurped public office by sitting on the board, and the Board and the District have allowed them to do that. 

They took an oath of office on November 13, 2018, but that was before they were eligible to do so. They took the oath illegally, and that's the same as never having taken it at all.

They became eligible to take the oath of office (legally) on December 4, 2018, but they have not done so.

What will the Richland County Elections Commission say? Has the period for taking the oath (legally) expired?

The November 10, 2020 Board meeting did not have a quorum, but the meeting was held anyway. One of these days the District is going to have to go all the way back to November 13, 2018 and fix all the mistakes that have occurred. The District should also recover all monies paid to, and for the benefit of, those two trustees-elect.