Thursday, September 23, 2021

9/22/21 Meeting - Question Called. And then? Down, down, down.

 (1:45:00) Holmes called for the Question and asked for the Motion to be reiterated.

At this point in the meeting, the agenda has not yet been approved! Mnning previously called for the question, although Holmes gave the nod to McKie for doing so.

I wonder whether any of Holmes' pastors were there. If so, how ever were they keeping a straight face?

(1:45:17) Agostini called a Point of Order, while McKie was explaining that she had made the motion and that Caution-Parker had seconded. The Motion was on the projection screen.

Agostini said, "Point of Order, Madame Chair."

(1:45:27) Agostini was recognized. She reminded the chair that before they could vote on the Motion to Approve the agenda, they must first vote on Manning's Call of Order (Agostini meant Question). NOTE: While Agostini is speaking, Holmes is having a side-conversation with Manning!

Holmes said she didn't hear Agostini. How could she not hear the loud and clear statement by Agostini? That's because Holmes was NOT PAYING ATTENTION!

At this point, Holmes is lost in space.

McKie rescued her by stating that Agostini called for the question. (Manning had actually called for it, but Holmes had nodded to McKie.)

Manning seconded. Holmes said, "Let's call for the vote." Passed unanimously. Holmes is again lost. Note: it was the Call for the Question vote that passed; not the Vote on the Motion to approve the agenda. Holmes begins scrolling on her tablet; she's lost and doesn't know what to do next. Holmes hands her tablet to Manning. She ought to know what to do without handling her tablet!

Holmes announced that the pending Motion (to Approve the Agenda) passes 7-0.

Holmes said they'd now go to Item 4.1 Superintendent's Contract. Notice the confused look on her face. She asks, "Are we on that?"

Someone informs Holmes that the Motion to Approve the Agenda did not pass unanimously. Holmes tells Agostini that she thought Agostini voted in the affirm. Agostini corrects her and says she voted to approve the Call of the Question.

McKie begins speaking and explains to McFadden what is happening.

Holmes never announces the corrected vote as 6-1. 

Holmes expresses her confusion. "Let's get some order. Let me get some clarity, please. Where [sic] we at, Mr. Manning?"  Hello, isn't there supposed to be verb in that question?

(1:47:57) Now Item 4.1 Superintendent's Contract

Motion by McKie to approve the superintendent's contract, including the previously-approved contract extension to 6/30/2025; 4% raise effective 7/1/2021; 18 month severance pay, payment of unused leave if he dies under contract. Second by Caution-Parker (of course).

Trustee Scott moved to provide 12 months' severance, not 18 months. Second by McFadden. No discussion. Holmes can't see the Motion on the projection scrfeen. Does she need glasses? Hand Vote: 3-4. Motion fails.

Holmes asks if there is another motion. Asks McKie to re-state her primary motion. 

Scott wanted to speak. Holmes stopped her, because she hadn't called for Discussion yet. Pause. Now there's diccussion.

Trustee Scott expressed sadness that no compromise could be reached to achieve a unanimous vote on the contract. Referred to "people" (meaaning some board members) who are control freaks, "my way or the highway". Would not compromise on even one minor thing. 

Mannng objected to use of "control freaks". Someone should have called a Point of Order. His comment had nothing to do with the contract. It was NOT germane, whereas Scott's comment was germane. Manning criticized Scott without naming her. Crude and disrespectful, and can't cover it up with "nice". 

Manning whined that the superintendent got no large bonus for dealing with COVID. Well, he got paid $223,000+ for doing his job! His job this past year involved dealing with COVID!

(1:56:40) Manning said, "Dr. Davis does not have two annuities in his contract." So, it seems to me that he must have one. Does the public know about that? How much is the contribution to that annuity?

Trustee Scott returned to the 18 months' severance. She said there are no African-American superintendents that have 18 months' severance. Acknowledges that the District's attorney, Kathy Mahoney, was stting in the meeting.

Trustee Agostini called a Point of Order and was ignored by Holmes. She called Point of Order two more times.

Holmes said, "Mrs. Agostini, I AM THE POINT OF ORDER at this time."

Agostini again, "Point of Order".

Agostini supported what Scott was saying and got interrupted by Holmes.

Where is a PARLIAMENTARIAN???

Holmes claims even individual prior research that was later mentioned in executive session cannot be stated in public. HOLMES IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG.

Agostini had a Point of Order on the floor, when Manning called the Question. Many were talking at the same time. One trustee didn't know what they were voting on. 

CHAOS

Somebody off-camera and off-microphone was talking and explaining something. Manning was having a side-conversation with McFadden. I called out "Can't hear." Manning turned on his microphone and spoke to the board and the audience. He explained incorrectly that the vote on the contract would follow the call of the question.

However, Agostini had a Point of Order on the floor that preceded Manning's Call for the Question.

Vote on the Call for the Questions: 5-2 Passed

Vote on Motion to approve the contract: Holmes announced, "Motion carries" without stating the vote, which was 5-2.

Agostini twice requested Point of Privilege.

Trustee Scott was recognized. She thanks the pastors who attended and asked them to continue to pray for the board. She asked for everybody here to back to the board meetings for budget, mask mandate policy.

(2:07:20) Holmes claimed a Point of Privilege ahead of McKie. Holmes should have yielded to McKie. Holmes had a prepared statement to read. She further wasted the time of the board and the community with unrelated comments relative to the purpose of the meeting. 

McKie asked for a Point of Privilege to toot her own horn. Barf.

The superintendent read a prepared statement. Whatever happened to spontaneous remarks?

Anyone else sick of hearing Premier - premier - premier....

(2:18:50) Adjourned. Holmes: "You all have a blessed evening"

Conclusion? PITIFUL!!!

Perhaps I ought to stock up on these and distribute them at future board meetings.



9/22/21 Meeting - slides downhill faster

 (1:31:15) Holmes then announced her "solution" and said she was calling a special-called board meeting. 

Remember now. The agenda for the night's meeting has not been approved yet!!! 

The lack of a Parliamentarian and the courtesy of "certain" board members meant that Holmes got away with rambling off-topic, blaming and defaming the three board members in minority; i.e., not in "The Four" or, as I call them, "The Squad". 

Holmes has no idea how to run a board meeting productively and efficiently. After the meeting adjourned, I introduced myself to Karla Hawkins, the new General Counsel for the District. I urged her to recommend that the District hire an independent Parliamentarian and to recommend training for the board in Robert's Rules of Order. Will she? 

Holmes announced that she would be calling a special meeting for Friday, September 24.

NO ONE would interrupt Holmes and remind her that the sole topic of last night's board meeting was the superintendent's contract. Thank goodness for Livestream. It's all right there. Watch it and watch Holmes continue to embarrass herself with her ignorance of parliamentary procedure.

"My thing is, do the work. Not the antics. The children are watching." What a dumb statement by a board chair.

(1:33:05) Two female board members asked to be recognized. Holmes retorted, "I am still talking."

(1:33:22) A board member asked to be recognized. Holmes: "I am still talking, please."

Dr. Scott asks the pastors in the audience to continue to pray for the board. She was offended by Holmes having accused her of walking out of the Sept. 14th meeting because she didn't care about someone, and Scott said that (Holmes' statement) was (1:34:42) a BOLD-FACED LIE. Trustee Scott said she walked out of the Sept. 14th meeting because she received information on the very day she was expected to vote and, due to schedule, she had had no time to review and consider the important information.

[After the meeting last night I suggested to an audience member that perhaps I ought to do an exorcism on Holmes. That person and I had been talking about good and evil. I've done some difficult exorcisms over the past 20 years, and I think I'd have a great time removing some of the devil's helpers from Holmes.]

NOTE: THE AGENDA STILL HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED.

(1:37:30) Trustee Agostini spoke again. She mentioned the inclusion of Public Participation in a Special-Called board meeting in December 2019 by Manniing (then-board chair) and the superintendent. She contradicted Manning's earlier statement about Public Participation in special-called meetings. Agostini said she had expressed understanding of the constraints on Manning (having to do Holmes' work), and Agostini felt the others (the Four?, including Holmes) had not reciprocated with understanding the need of The Three to have adequate time to understand the totality of the superintendent's contract terms.

Holmes then called Agostini a liar by saying "That's not factual." (1:39:43) Holmes cannot even keep meeting purposes and timing straight. She said she understood and that's why last night's meeting was being held. NO. Agostini was talking about the Sept. 14th meeting. 

WHAT IS WRONG WITH HOLMES' COMPREHENSION?

(1:40:15) Manning interrupted and annouced that he would like to call the question. See Robert's Rules of Order §6:6-7. Then Holmes asked McKie if she was calling for the question, and McKie nodded, but made no audible response.

Trustee Scott began speaking and said she will not be there on Friday, due to short notice, having a life and having prior obligations. Scott accused Holmes of being "selfish" in announcing the special-called meeting for this Friday. She said board member were "told" about last night's meeting. They were not offered a choice of several dates, as in the past, so that a majority could choose the best date. Scott said "Dictatorship" won't work. 

Then Holmes grabbed the floor again, ignoring the Call for the Question. Holmes said there is no dictatorship on the board; there is responsibility. When a meeting is called, "You come and do your responsibility."

Seriously? What use of English language is that? What does "do your responsibility" mean??? That's a person with a doctorate? I guess I wonder about the quality of the school that awarded that to her, if they didn't teach her to speak decent English. She continued, "You don't do the derelection [sic] of duty and walk out of the meeting." She repeated the accusation of "derelection of duty" by Agostini, Scott and McFadden.

Holmes then declared that duly-elected officials are required [sic] to come to meetings. NOT TRUE. She then falsely stated that last night's special-called meeting would not have been necessary, if they had done their duty that evening (Sept. 14).

(1:42:35) Trustee Agostini asked to be recognized. Holmes: "I'm still talking."

Holmes said they were going to call for the question.

(1:43:00) Trustee McFadden was recognized and spoke. She said if the board (majority) had cooperated to table the superintendent's contract, the Sept. 14th meetiing could have continued. McFadden also used the word "dictatorship", referring to Holmes in the executive session.

(1:45:00) Holmes called for the Question and asked for the Motion to be reiterated.

CONTINUED

9/22/21 Meeting - starts downhill

The 9//22/21 meeting resumed at 1:16:48. After a faulty motion "to come out of" executive session by Manning and a second, the vote was unanimous.

Holmes: "We will now move on to Public ... No, no, no." Just exactly where was her head? Not in the game last night!

Then Holmes asked for approval of the agenda. At that point I wondered whether the agenda should have been approved at the beginning of the meeting, before the board left for executive session.

McKie moved to approve the agenda; second by Caution-Parker. Trustee Agostini spoke in discussion. Agostini and another board member had requested that student appeals and admissions into adult education included in tonight's agenda. The reason given to Agostini and the other board member was that the request had not been made in a timely manner (three business days). Agostini mentioned a School Boards Assn. resolution that had been added late by a staffer to the previous meeting's agenda. 

McKie made a useless, irrelevant comment to promote herself. It was not germane to Agostini's comment.

Dr. Scott identified herself as the other board member who had asked for addition of student appeals and admission to adult education to last night's agenda. Scott said the request was made, as allowed by Board Policy, and that the board chair (Holmes) had not approved it.

Manning stated that he supported the chair's decision not to include those items. Manning blamed "hot (or high?) passions" about the superintendent's contract to the point that "folks" (he means Agostini, Scott, McFadden) needed to leave the (Sept. 14) meeting and "disrupt the business of the District." WHAT? Then Manning mentioned an email from a community member who openly asked board members to again walk out of a meeting and to not conduct the business of the District.

I suspect Manning was referring to me (Gus Philpott). If he was, he lied. I recommended that Agostini, Scott and McFadden not show up for the Sept. 22 special-called meeting, not that they walk out of the meeting. Then he refers to requests (PLURAL) from the public for board members to walk out...  Really? More than one request? Then he refers to "legal counsel" that Holmes had mentioned earlier.

WRONG. Not legal counsel to the District. Holmes referred to a training class conducted at an SCSBA meeting by an attorney. That is NOT "legal counsel" to the District.

Agostini added that she was troubled not to see Public Participation on the agenda. 

Scott spoke about Manning's comment. She referred to the pastors in the room. Scott stated that NO community member contacted her and asked her to walk out of the (Sept. 14th) meeting. By that time, the public must have been greatly confused about the comments being made about two different meetings!

There were 11 black members of the public seated on the left side facing the board. Were some of them pastors? Were they there to support the superintendent? Manning greeted some of them before the meeting started. Manning did not greet any of the white members of the audience. 

Manning was allowed to speak again. He tried to kowtow out of referring to any particular individual, but only three board members walked out, so he was definitely referring to one or more of them!

Holmes totally disregarded Robert's Rules of Order about how often a board member can speak during discussion. My guess is she didn't "disregard" Robert's Rules. My guess is that she is ignorant of Robert's Rules of Order.

One more reason that Richland 2 should hire an independent Parliamentarian. That would have been a better use of 4% of the superintendent's $223,000 than giving him a raise.

Manning tried to clarify that the email from the community member came out after the (Sept. 14) board meeting, but then he erroneously added "... again requesting board members to walk out..." That implies a first request to walk out. Is he just careless with wording?

Holmes and Manning (and others) fail to acknowledge the reason that the three trustees walked out of the Sept. 14th meeting. It was that information was released to them piecemeal and late. They made the right decision to leave the meeting!

All of their ramblings were unrelated to the Motion that was on the floor. That motion was to approve the agenda. A Parliamentarian would have gotten the board back on track!

Then Manning slammed Agostini (not by name) for voting against approval of the agenda in many meetings. He said "board members", but he was referring to Agostini. She has, in fact, a very good reason for voting "No" on the agenda in meeting after meeting. Manning snide comment was not germane to the discussion and should have been cut off. However, Holmes did not cut him off.

At 1:25:54 Holmes decided that she wanted to say something. At that time the only thing she should have said was "Now we'll vote." Remeber the motion on the floor? The one to approve the agenda?

Holmes read Board Policy BE about special-called meetings.It was already typed up and ready to be read. She said what's new about that meeting was the "attitude" about it. She made an erroneous statement that nothing could be added to the agenda of a special-called board meeting. SHE IS FLAT WRONG. Then she proceeded to drag on about what did not get handled at the Sept. 14th meeting. Her comments were not germane (remember that word from the last meeting that seemed to come out of the ether?) to approving last night's agenda!

She referred to a "COVAD" ("Excuse me, COVID") update. She stated, erroneously, how "everybody" was "miraculously" concerned about those issues at this meeting but not on Sept. 14. Holmes maligned the three walk-out board members for not wanting to vote their conscience and Holmes said (1:29:00) "... they were waiting for certain other people to give them directive as to how to (unintelligble) disrupt the proceedings of this board." DEFAMATORY!

WITH THOSE WORDS HOLMES IS FLAT OUT LYING TO THE AUDIENCE, BOARD MEMBERS AND THE PUBLIC.

The Holmes makes a confusing, and wrong, statement about Public Participation.

Remember that Holmes was nominated by Manning on June 29th to be board chair, shortly after a "member of the public" (yours truly) implored the full board to nominate only persons who were fully entitled to be on the board and therefore eligible to be a board officer. Holmes is not legitimately on the board (she has never taken the oath of office legally) and so cannot legitimately be the board chair. But there she is.

There was no issue whatsoever about "fairness" in a decision to have or not have Public Participation. 

(1:31:00) Holmes then accused "certain (board) members" on not having done their "due diligence" of providing a vote (at the Sept. 14 board meeting on the superintendent's contract. Holmes does not even know what "due diligence" is. 

(1:31:15) Then she announced the next special-called board meeting. 

Remember now. The agenda for the night's meeting has not been approved yet!!! 

See the next article.

9/22/21 Meeting - Opening. No Call to Order

On the livestream recording of last night's meeting, nothing happens until 14:33. You can sit there and stare at the notice that the meeting starts at 5:30PM, or you can fast-forward to 14:33.

Is the 9/22/21 meeting even a legal meeting? 

Notice that Teresa Holmes never even calls the meeting to order. I thought that was what happened last night and confirmed it by watchng the recording this morning. As the recording begins at 14:33, she is holding papers and looking off to her left. She seems to confirm her microphone is on and then laughs and giggles. Then she fiddles with her hair. What is she laughing at? Is someone speaking to her through an earpiece? Is that why she is laughing? When she starts speaking, she hasn't gotten any visual cue from the left.

Her first words are "Good evening. Before we go into executive session, I am going to read you all something." Holmes then referred to an end-of-August S.C. School Boards Assn. training where a lawyer recommended that a special-called meeting for the sole purpose of conducting a superintendent's evaluation process be held. She considers the contract revision to be part of the process.

Then she proceeded to lecture the audience about "a little history". 

Before I continue with the analysis, keep in mind it has been the tradition of Richland 2 to exclude Public Participation from special-called meetings. I assert that the superintendent knew that well when, on Sept. 14, he requested a special-called meeting. After all, why have a roomful of people who oppose a raise for him and the manner in which it was attempted?

Holmes then continued with "history", which nobody needed to hear. She spoke about a 2018 meeting, which was at the time of Hurricane Florence. No one cared what was on that 2018 agenda. That was before Holmes was even elected to the board (not to belabor the fact that it was also before she ever became a legal member of the board - which she still has not.). She beat to death that 2018 meeting sequence, which was for a superintendent's evaluation, not the contract.

At 18:05 Holmes asked for a motion to go into executive session.

NOTE: Holmes never called the meeting to order. Without that, NO meeting had officially started. Was the secret "executive session" meeting, in fact, an illegal meeting of the school board, out of view of the public?

It is no different than had the seven met at a private room in a restaurant to talk for an hour about the superintendent's contract; i.e., to discuss the business of the District.

Should Richland 2 end up in court over this? (And other legal matters?) Hint: the correct answer is "Yes."

McKie moved to "recess public session" (which had never officially started) and enter executive session. Caution-Parker made her contribution of the evening by seconding that motion. Holmes asked for a hand vote "as all of us do not have our devices ready". Why not?

NO ONE spoke up about the failure of Holmes to call the meeting to order. At 18:50 they left for the secret, illegal meeting.

I had noticed Holmes' failure to call the meeting to order and said so to the two members of the audience seated in front of me.

If the District had a Parliamentarian, that person would have corrected the error right then and there and prevented a violation of the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act.  Title 30, Chapter 4.

The meeting resumed at 1:16:48. Holmes announced the time as 6:30 and proceeded to call the meeting to order. WRONG! It was actually time to re-convene the meeting, but that could not occur because the meeting had never officially started!

And then Holmes proceeded to call for a motion to go into executive session, but she stopped herself. Where was her brain? Fully engaged in the present meeting? I. Don't. Think. So.

Analysis continued in next articles.

9/22/21 Meeting - Chaos!

Who referred to last night's meeting as chaos? (Before I did, I mean.)

WACH.TV (Columbia's Fox TV 57)

"Richland Two board meeting erupts in chaos before passing new Superintendent contract"

WIS-TV: Found the story earlier on my phone, but at 8:15AM there is no story on WISTV.com about last night's board meeting.

The State: Reporter Lucas Daprile was kind to Richland 2, using words like "infighting", "bickering", and "fractures".

Post and Courier: "heated exchanges", and quoting Holmes: "dereliction of duty", "antics".

"Columbia-area board OKs superintendent contract week after walkout amid new tensions"

Last night's meeting was a classic example of how not to conduct a board meeting. When a meeting disintegrates into chaos and name-calling, you have to first look at the leadership (if there is any).

In the case of the Richland 2 board, leadership is severely lacking. In a serious of articles to follow, I'll give clear examples of the lack of leadership. 

If you didn't attend last night, in-person or online, you can catch the replay at www.livestream.com/richland2

Select the September 22, 2021 meeting.

Notice the carelessness of Richland 2 in the title, "092221SpecialCalledBoardOfTrusteesMeetin". They'll probably edit that, but this is what it looked like this morning.

                                                                       (Click to enlarge)

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Call three trustees by 3:00PM (9/22/21)

The superintendent of Richland 2, if he had any humility, would request the board chair (who is not even legitimately the board chair) to cancel tonight's special-called board meeting. 

He should put the students and the District first and ask the board consider his compensation at a Regular Meeting (Sept. 28) where Public Participation is scheduled.

He won't; so call Trustees Agostini, Scott and McFadden today BEFORE 3:00PM today (Sept. 22) and ask them not to attend the meeting tonight. If none of the three attends, there will not be a quorum, and there won't be a meeting.

Trustee Lashonda McFadden: 803.351.7409

Trusteee Monica Scott: 803.200.2121

Trustee Lindsay Agostini: 803.530.5571


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

What if only four show on Sept. 22?

What will happen if only "The Four" show up at the September 22nd Special-Called Board Meeting? "The Four" are Holmes, McKie, Caution-Parker and Manning.

There won't be a meeting, because there won't be a quorum.

Even if Lashonda McFadden shows up, making five there, there will NOT be a legal quorum. There will be only three legal members of the board.

Even if Monica Elkins shows up, there won't be a legal quorum. There will be only four legal members of the board.

That's because Holmes and McKie are not legitimate members of the board. Neither has EVER taken the oath of office legally.

For there to be a legal quorum, Caution-Parker, Manning, McFadden, Elkins AND Agostini will have to show up.

But look how the balance shifts with that legal quorum.

After the superintendent's proposed revised contract is discussed in executive (secret) session, the board will reconvene in public session.

Caution-Parker or Manning will move to approve it; the other will second it. There will be more discussion.

Perhaps the objectionable terms of the proposed contract will be discussed in public.

Then there will be a vote.

One possible result of a vote by the five legal, legitimate members of the board would be 2-3, resulting in a failure to approve.

Caution-Parker and Manning will vote to approve.

Agostini, Elkins and McFadden could vote against approving. Maybe they don't like the perks. Maybe they think they raise is too large. Maybe they think teachers, aides, lunchroom workers, bus drivers, secretaries ought to get a raise before the superintendent does.

Result? 2-3 and Fail.

Or Holmes and McKie could vote, and then the outcome will be 4-3 or 5-2 or 6-1.

The best outcome tomorrow will be if Agostini, Elkins and McFadden just don't show up.

Then Holmes can show her true colors. How would she handle such a rebuke? Would she just announce that, because there is not a quorum, there is no meeting. And say nothing else?

O.K. Standing by to take your bets now.

Chair should cancel 9/22 Special Meeting

THE responsible decision for the board chair would be to cancel the September 22 Special-Called Meeting.

Of course, it never should have been called in the first place. But you did hear the superintendent's request; right?

Supt. Davis said on September 14, ""It would be the recommendation of the superintendent for the board chair to consider a special-called board meeting with only the superintendent's contract on that board meeting..." 

Is that not pretentious? Self-serving? Ego-driven?

Why would he say "... the recommendation of the superintendent..."? He IS the superintendent. He's sitting right there. He is the one speaking. He's not talking about someone behind the curtain. He is talking about himself.

Why didn't he say, "I would appreciate your considering my proposed revised contract at your earliest convenience, perhaps at a special meeting next week"?

Of course, Teresa Holmes is going to do whatever he asks. You'd think she works for him and not the other way around.

Where's McKie on all this? Why isn't she demanding that her laundry list of student-centered items get on a special-called meeting agenda ahead of the superintendent's contract?

And same with Caution-Parker and Manning?

Who's first? The students or the superintendent? The answer is clear from the agenda for tomorrow night's meeting.

Trustees Agostini, Scott and McFadden can at least control the superintendent's not being more important than the students by just not showing up tomorrow night. ALL THREE need not to show up. If one of them shows, there will be a quorum, and the superintendent will get his raise and the other perks he wants.

$20 Technology Fee? A profit center?

(Click to enlarge)

This Notice was posted for website visitors at Rice Creek Elementary to see first-thing.

In case you can't read the fine print, the mandatory $20 annual fee pays for the first repair for accidental damage and for replacement, if the device is stolen and reported to law enforcement. It does not replace a lost device.

How many computers or similar devices does Richland 2 hand out? 28,000?

At $20/year each, that's $560,000.

Is this fund self-insured? If not, it ought to be, because it could probably provide a $400,000 profit to Richland 2. 

Can parents see a report on the Richland 2 website about fees vs. expenses? Could the fund still be profitable at $10/year? or less?

How big of a profit-center is the $20 annual Technology Fee?

Monday, September 20, 2021

Who defamed whom?

Does Teresa Holmes have any idea what defamation is? 

Start listening when Trustee McFadden begins her explanation for not wanting to vote on the superintendent’s proposed revised contract at the Sept. 14th meeting. That’s at 1:29:40

Listen especially to the argument at 1:32:20 on the recording, when Holmes accused McFadden of defaming board members. McFadden was explaining about how late she received the proposed revised contract for the superintendent, and she said, “We already know they got four that are going to vote for it.”

Holmes not only interrupted her, but Holmes argued and asserted that McFadden was defaming The Four (Holmes, McKie, Caution-Parker, Manning) by saying that. McFadden was not!

You can also hear Holmes apparently talking to someone near her, although her words are not clearly audible on the recording. McFadden heard her, though.

Proper and courteous procedure is that you don’t interrupt the person who is speaking, even if you don't agree with them. One board member, not even the chair, is not to argue with another; yet that’s exactly what Holmes does. Holmes is supposed to maintain order; instead, she causes even more disruption.

Where in the world does Holmes get “defaming other board members”, when she hears McFadden say that she know four who are already planning to vote for the revised contract I wish McFadden had not apologized. No apology was needed. 

When McKie referred to McFadden’s comments as “pretty juvenile”, was that defamatory?

Holmes' "door" only swings one way.

Why "The Three" Should Boycott 9/22 Meeting

There are good reasons for "The Three" to boycott the Special-Called Meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

1. There is no emergency. It's not like the superintendent will miss a few meals, if he doesn't get a raise.
2. The superintendent's proposed revised contract is the only item on the agenda.
3. The superintendent put himself before the important issues facing the School District, when he said on Sept. 14, "It would be the recommendation of the superintendent for the board chair to consider a special-called board meeting with only the superintendent's contract on that board meeting..." 

In other words, "Pick me. Pick me. Pick me."

Perhaps the most important reason for "The Three" to skip that meeting would be to begin re-training "The Four" and the superintendent to pay more attention to "The Three" and to furnish complete information on a timely basis to them before all board meetings.

Upon information and belief, Tuesday night was not the first time that the trustees (the minority group) have had trouble getting all the information on which to make a decision.

A board member should have to ask only once for information. Repeated requests should not be necessary. Nor should it be necessary to ask again and again for more details. Complete information should be provided to all at the same time. If there are updates, they should be given to all at the same time.

By skipping Wednesday night's meeting, the message to the board chair and the superintendent (and the vice chair) would be, "Don't mess around with us." 

So make the superintendent wait his turn. 

On the meeting video for Sept. 14 at 1:33:20, you can hear McKie try to position herself with her 26,000 fans (voters) by falsely saying she is not one of "they" (she surely is!) and trying to console the parents about their not getting reports that night on student appeals, student __(unintelligible)____ center, the Proviso 1.108, 6th grade advantage, Spanish language, update on COVID, draft agenda for the next meeting, that night's Public Participation speakers. McKie rattled those off so quickly it was hard to follow and type.

So, why did Holmes call a special meeting for the superintendent's contract, instead of one or more of those more important issues??? 

Every one of the issues on the Sept. 14 agenda is more important than revising his already-lucrative contract.

Just in case you are wondering ...

"The Three" are Agostini, Scott, McFadden

"The Four" are Holmes, McKie, Caution-Parker, Manning

COVID Update by Supt.

If you haven't seen this yet, here is the superintendent's 9/17/2021 COVID update. www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFvuVGJq8ak

B-U-T I must add that I did NOT like his introduction!

He says that he/they have heard from some Richland 2 family members that they tuned into the September 14th board meeting to hear the COVID update. He continues,

"Some of (nearly unintelligible) the Richland Two board of trustees, along with myself, sincerely regret that we were unable to update you on Tuesday. So, we wanted to bring the information directly to you with this video. We want to take this time to thank you for taking time out of your schedule to watch it..." 

Sorry. Wrong words! His words cause the viewer to think that someone "else" was at fault - was responsible for the breakdown on Tuesday night. Someone else caused the meeting to stop and prevented the update. Regret is a "feelings" word. The board deals with information, facts and accuracy. Boards don't have "feelings".

Well, that isn't the way it was.

First, do (all?) "members of the board of trustees" regret that the meeting was cut short? No, four of them might. I had to listen to it 4-5 times to understand "Some of the Richland Two board of trustees..." So he isn't speaking for all; he's not speaking for the board, but only for some of the board.

Who authorized him to speak for the board and in that way? Hint: No one did. No one could. The meeting ended with no action being taken.

Place the fault where it belongs. The flow of information about the superintendent's negotiated proposed revised contract was distributed in a sporadic, ill-timed and uneven manner. Not everyone got the same information at the same time.

A flurry of phone calls on Monday and Tuesday meant that everyone did not get the same information at the same time. And maybe not even the same information (unless it was a recorded message).

From what McKie said on Sept. 14 she got the information and well ahead of the meeting. Well, she is part of the "they". And how would she know who got what and when? Manning seemed to manage the information distribution and flow. McKie had just heard, if she was listening, that Agostini, Scott and McFadden DID NOT get information early enough to digest it. Was she choosing not to believe what the three had just said?

What the superintendent should have said was, "Here is up-to-date information on COVID."  If he wasn't going to lay the blame squarely and honestly on those responsible for the distribution of information about what he wants in his revised contract, he should have left that out.

And why didn't he just say "Some members of the Board and I regret..." He's a guy who got $1,400 for two speeches in 2020. Is there an English teacher who can help him?

Open Letter to Board re Robert's Rules

 The following email has been sent to the five legal board members and trustees-elect Holmes and McKie.


Members of the Board and trustees-elect Holmes and McKie,

On November 19, 2019 Attorney Helen McFadden conducted a workshop on Robert's Rules of Order.

In view of the chaotic board meeting on September 14, 2021, at which a quorum was lost when three trustees walked out, I urge you to contract Attorney McFadden to return with additional and intensive training.

Please pay her to view the entire meeting (the public meeting re-convenes at 1:14:08 on www.livestream.com/richland2) and to train, direct and coach the board how to conduct a meeting properly.

Sincerely,

Resident, Richland School District Two
www.richland2.info
847.971.7083

The Value of Video-recorded Meetings

The video-recording of the September 14, 2021 regular board meeting would make a great Case Study in "How Not to Run a Board Meeting". See it at www.livestream.com/richland2

At 1:36:39 Teresa Holmes, acting as chair (even though she is not a legitimate member of the board and cannot serve legitimately as chair) says that, as chair and in her 30 years as an educator, "I've never seen this happen before."

The important question is, What was the connection between what happened in that meeting and her sitting in the chair's seat?

The board desperately needs training in how to conduct board meetings and in the application of Robert's Rules of Order. 

On November 19, 2019 the board held a special-called meeting (workshop) that included training by Attorney Helen McFadden, an expert in Robert's Rules of Order. The board would be well-advised to get her back ASAP for further training.

If Attorney McFadden (no relation to Trustee Lashonda McFadden) sat with the board, played the video-recording of the September 14th meeting and stopped it every time something wrong was said or done, they'd be there for eight hours. Maybe longer.

A Richland 2 staffer could not conduct such a training, unless it was on her last day at work. It will take a person who is completely independent of the District. Pay Attorney McFadden $1,500 and give her free rein.

Richland 2 should appoint an independent Parliamentarian to attend meetings. All trustees should agree that they will listen to, respect, and accept the decisions of the parliamentarian. 

Staff attorney Karla Hawkins was asked on September 14 about whether a secondary motion was germane to the primary motion. That's not a legal question; that's a parliamentary question. And her answer, "It could go either way", was not correct. A correct answer would have been Yes or No. It is, or it isn't. 

Watch Holmes Disrespect McFadden

This story is about the September 14, 2021 Regular Board Meeting. View it at www.livestream.com/richland2

As I looked this morning for the superintendent's request on September 14th for a special-called board meeting consider the proposed revised contact, I happened to watch again the portion of the Sept. 14th meeting when Trustee Scott left the meeting, followed by Trustee Agostini.

At 1:23:40 Holmes erroneously ruled that Agostini's secondary motion is not germane to McKie's motion to approve that night's agenda. Wow! Nothing could have been more germane than Agostini's motion!

At 1:23:57 Trustee Scott expresses her displeasure with what is happening and leaves the meeting. She mentions "giving Dr. Davis a raise", which reveals to the public what was discussed in executive session and provides important insight into her solid reasoning about not participating further in the meeting.

At 1:25:54 Trustee Agostini asks to be recognized. She states that she is in agreement with Dr. Elkins-Scott and that she will be leaving the meeting.

At 1:26:32 Trustee McFadeen asks to be recognized.

NOW, HERE IS THE INSULT ISSUED BY THE CHAIR:

Holmes says, "Just a second, Ms. McFadden. I'm sure you are going to join the rest."

A board member should have immediately jumped on Holmes about that. But, other than Mrs. McFadden, who was left? Only "The Four" - Holmes, Manning, McKie and Caution-Parker. Since Holmes was not going to object to her disrespectful, snide, unprofessional, snarky words, that left Manning, McKie and Caution-Parker, and not one of them could be counted on to step up and demand an apology to Mrs. McFadden.

Holmes then asks Manning to speak. Wrong! McFadden was next in line.

Mrs. McFadden continues to ask to be recognized. Watch Queen Holmes continue to shut her down. That was out-of-order. Holmes correct choice would have been to recognize McFadden, but she knew what was coming. An end to the meeting, because there would no longer be a quorum.

At 1:29:39 Mrs. McFadden is finally recognized. She states her objections about short timing. She refers to a list of what the superintendent wanted in his new contract. It wasn't provided to her. Holmes interrupts McFadden with mumbling. 

Holmes again improperly interrupted McFadden, after she said, "We already know we got four that's going to vote for it (the contract)." Holmes argued with McFadden, while she had the floor. Holmes had not authority to interrupt, argue and challenge McFadden. Holmes didn't like what McFadden was saying and attempted to shut her down. It didn't work. Listen to McFadden's strong remarks. Firm, polite, straight-forward.

If Holmes had not spoken to McFadden as she did, if she had not argued with her and treated her like a child, McFadden probably would have stayed in the meeting. Then finally McKie's motion to approve the agenda would have been voted on, and the vote would have been 4-1; that is, 4 Yea, 1 Nay, 0 Abstain, 2 Not Present at Vote.

At 1:33:22 McKie was recognized. Watch McKie's sad refrain when she tries to get herself out of the "they" group. McKie is squarely in line with "The Four", what I call "the cabal" or "The Squad". Squarely! 

Then Manning responded to McFadden's remarks about the Proviso. His comments were out-of-order; they were not germane to the motion. He should have been interrupted, but Holmes does not know enough about parliamentary procedures to know when and how to cut off unrelated remarks.

While McKie is rambling away or Manning is speaking, McFadden packs up and leaves.

But with McFadden's departure, there was no longer a quorum.

Still, it took another 15 minutes until the meeting was adjourned at 1:49:05.

Holmes rambled on in a Point of Privilege.

Oh, yes, when did the superintendent ask for a special-called meeting, so he could get his raise?

At 1:39:28 the superintendent informed Holmes that there was no quorum and they would have to adjourn. 

In a boring, low-toned monotone, he explained the board policy about adjourning when no quorum, and he continued right on with "It would be the recommendation of the superintendent for the board chair to consider a special-called board meeting with only the superintendent's contract on that board meeting..."

CAN YOU BELIEVE HIS GALL IN PROMOTING HIMSELF THAT WAY IN FRONT OF THE PUBLIC?

Remember how "they" say it's all for the children? Seriously? His raise is more important than the health and safety of the children?

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Open Message to the Board re Sept. 22 Meeting

The following e-mail has been sent to the board today.

Members of the Board and trustees-elect Holmes and McKie,

I urge you to cancel the Sept. 22 Special-Called board meeting and place the superintendent's contract  discussion and decision on the agenda of the Regular Meeting for September 28.

Since it is the public that pays the superintendent's compensation, please allow the public's input through Public Participation, not just individual emails and telephone calls that don't get compiled and publicized.

You can avoid the illusion of subterfuge, collusion and conspiracy by conducting the business of the School Board with complete transparency and by answering fully to the public on September 28.

If the Sept. 22 meeting is not canceled, I urge Trustees Agostini, Scott and McFadden not to attend the meeting, resulting in no quorum.

If the Sept. 22 meeting is held, the legal members of the board (Agostini, Scott, McFadden, Manning, Caution-Parker) will constitute a quorum. Holmes and McKie are not legitimate members of the board and should not be present or voting.

A legal vote by the five legal members of the board might look like this:

Motion to approve the superintendent's revised contract:
Yea: Caution-Parker, Manning
Nay: Agostini, Scott, McFadden
Result: 2-3. Motion fails

I request a trustee at the Sept. 28 meeting to make a motion to allow the board to respond to public comments and questions at that meeting.

Sincerely,

Gus Philpott

Saturday, September 18, 2021

No Raise for the Superintendent!

I can think of one good reason not to approve a raise for the superintendent.

When he sat in the August 16 Special-Called Board Meeting and witnessed the discussion about a motion that Manning was going to make to seek legal advice, but had heard the legal advice given during the meeting and knew there was an understanding that he could proceed with legal action (lawsuit) if Manning's motion passed, he should have informed the board that they were wrong to handle it that way.

Wasn't he worried that it might backfire on him? Just as it has?

The superintendent is an employee of THE DISTRICT. He doesn't work for Holmes, Manning, Caution-Parker and McKie. 

The superintendent must know the rules for executive sessions and what can take place therein. He would have had to know that what they were doing was wrong. Very wrong.

Even though his employment seems shockproof (it takes five to fire him), it's not. As superintendent, he has a fiduciary duty to The District, his employer. 

Will "the Four" (the cabal; The Squad) have the integrity to acknowledge their error and discipline the superintendent for his complicity by not further considering any changes in his employment contract at this time? And how should they discipline, criticize, punish, sanction themselves? They knew better, too.

I'm really struggling with using the word "integrity" in the same sentence as "the Four". But I'll leave it there as a lofty goal. 

Trustees Agostini, Scott and McFadden absolutely clear the high bar, when it comes to Integrity. 

There's a song running through my mind now. I wonder why. 
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gq7pxUgjLz0

Open Letter to Reporter at The State

The following email is being sent to reporter Lucas Daprile at The State newspaper today:

I was interested in your yesterday's (9/17/21) article (headline: Voting discrepancy surfaces...) and your statement that "Concern about the August vote did not surface until after this week's meeting, more than three weeks after the suit was filed on Aug. 20."

On August 20th, when the lawsuit was filed, I first wrote about the discrepancy on my blog at www.Richland2.info  

And I've written about it many times since.

Maybe I should join the S.C. Press Assn. so I could solicit and publish Jay Bender's opinions. 

The R2 superintendent had to get a green light in the executive session on August 16. I never believed that he would proceed without knowing the majority of the board was behind him. 

Manning's public motion was misleading to the minority of the board and the public. It was subterfuge and deception. When Holmes made her press statement on August 20, I realized something was up. As you revealed in your story, the District acknowledges that the board got legal advice during the executive session; so they didn’t need to “get” it after Manning’s motion.

With Manning's admission on Sept. 14 to many phone calls to board members about the proposed revised contract of the superintendent, I wonder how many phone calls there were between the majority component of the board (Holmes, Manning, Caution-Parker, McKie) to "agree to agree" in the executive session about what Manning's motion during the Regular Meeting on Aug. 16 would really mean. 

State law is clear about executive sessions. No decisions are to be made. No votes are to be taken. And they can't "agree to agree". That's a prohibited decision.

Because the lawsuit was never legally authorized by the board in public session, it should have been withdrawn. In fact, I telephoned the Defendants to suggest that they motion for dismissal on that point.

"The four", as Trustee McFadden correctly called them, should be greatly concerned about being named in a lawsuit for violating the S.C. Freedom of Information Act. The three trustees forming the minority (Agostini, Scott, McFadden) could do that. And they ought to, since two of them voted for Manning's Motion.

Had Holmes allowed the discussion on Aug. 16 that Trustee Agostini wanted, that behind-the-scenes decision would have been revealed. Agostini was traveling and had not phoned into the executive session. Holmes reconvened the public meeting and "forgot" that Agostini had said she wanted to rejoin the meeting by phone. Trustee McFadden reminded Holmes. By prohibiting Agostini's requested discussion, Holmes kept the secret decision out of public view - for the time-being.

R2 Supt's 2019 raise was 12.3%

On the agenda for Wednesday (Sept. 22) afternoon's Special-Called Board Meeting at 5:00PM is a raise for Supt. Davis. 

Why? 

And why on Wednesday, instead of at the next Regular Meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 28? 

And why at 5:00PM, when many parents are just leaving work? 

And why at a Special-Called Meeting where, traditionally, public participation is not scheduled (or allowed)?

In March the superintendent disclosed his earnings on the required public Statement of Economic Interests Report due at the South Carolina Ethics Commission. What's on it?

Personal Income:

Salary $223,882.97

Automobile Allowance $18,000

Insurance Policy Benefit $760.00 (A)

Salary, Neo Genesis Group (amount not disclosed)

Salary, University of the Cumberlands (amount not disclosed)

Salary, University of South Carolina $14,000

Speaking Engagement, ERDI (B) 9/14/2020 $500

Speaking Engagement, Francis Marion University 6/24/2020 $850

Family Income:

Richland Two, Salary $78,113

(A) The specifics are not reported. Commonly, when an employee reports taxable income in that category, it represents the economic benefit to the employee of premiums paid by the employer for a life insurance policy insuring that employee and payable to a beneficiary named by the insured employee. In other words, a perk of personal life insurance in a significant amount. It's not necessary that premium amount, but rather the "economic benefit" of the premiums paid.

(B) ERDI is the Education Research & Development Institute. From www.erdius.org "ERDI is the premier provider of unique research and development opportunities for companies who are designing products and services to support PK-12." 

Does Richland 2 buy any of those products and services?

So, Davis' yearly Richland 2 income is $241,882.97 plus his salaries from U of S.C., the U of the Cumberlands, and the Neo Genesis Group, plus his speaking fees, (Total $257,992.97+) plus the Family Income from Richland 2 of $78,113. Total family income of $336,105.97+.

I'm sure we can all sympathize with the financial struggles in the Davis family to get along during a pandemic year on that piddling amount.

Is this why "the four" are in such a rush to give him a raise?

How much of his Richland 2 time, if any, is carved out for his employment with the Neo Genesis Group, the University of the Cumberlands, the University of South Carolina, and speaking engagements?

Maybe the revised Contract should read, "Employee is to commit his working time solely to Richland School District Two and will not participate in outside ventures or receive earned income from other sources."

Friday, September 17, 2021

Must-read Article in TheState.com

Reporter Lucas Daprile dug deeply into the Richland 2 school board's meeting where Trustee Manning moved to get legal advice on Proviso 1.108. Read the article here.

Only it turns out that the board GOT the legal information during that executive session.

The purpose of the Motion by Manning was to give the superintendent the green light to file the lawsuit.

Trustees Agostini, Scott and McFadden got snookered. Read the article.

Libby Roof provided a statement (the article doesn't say to whom). The article states, "This vote by the board was taken following an executive session during which the board received legal advice regarding the best option and legal strategy to address (the one-year mask law). The discussion included a clear description of what actions would be taken by district administrators if the board voted to give district administrators the authority to engage legal counsel.”

However, the following statement by Mrs. Roof does not look truthful to me.

“'The approved motion provided the authority for district leaders to...seek legal relief from (the one-year mask law) in order to protect our students and employees,' Roof said."

Manning's Motion did not say that. 

I highlighted the word "received" for a reason. That's to call your attention to the revelation that the board actually got the information during the executive session, which Manning later made a Motion to obtain.

How that for deceit?

Up until reading that statement today, it had appeared to me (and, I think, to others) that Manning's motion, as approved 6-1, directed the superintendent to get information. But now it turns out that the board already had the information.

This is the right time for Holmes, McKie, Caution-Parker and Manning to resign from the board.

Is an Earpiece in use?

Look again at the video-recording of the September  14, 2021 Regular Board Meeting of the Richland 2 School Board. Go to www.livestream.com/richland2

Fast-forward to 1:16:50 where, after the Pledge of Allegiance, the board chair asked for a motion to approve the agenda for that night's meeting.

McKie makes the motion; Manning seconds. The chair calls for discussion.

Mrs. Agostini is recognized. After a brief audio interruption the end of her motion can be heard, and that was to postpone the agenda item about superintendent's contract. A woman's voice can be heard seconding the motion.

You can hear Mrs. Agostini stating that a main motion can be amended, while the camera is on Holmes, who isn't saying anything. Watch Holmes closely. She says, "OK. ... OK   ... OK" and states, "It does have to be germane to the motion."

Mrs. Agostini thinks that Holmes is speaking to her, but is she? Is Holmes really agreeing to something being said to her and then repeating what was said?

Is there a possibility that Holmes is wearing an earpiece and is listening to someone giving her information and guidance?

If Holmes were put under oath and asked about an earpiece, how would she answer - under penalty of perjury?

For Holmes to say, as if she had thought of it herself, "It has to be germane", would be very unusual. Holmes does not have a good grasp on parliamentary procedures.

Just as board members are not to use cell phones, texts, emails, etc. between themselves or to or from the outside, a board member can't have someone whispering in her ear.

Everybody - all the board members and the public - is entitled to hear every word said during a public meeting. This is why I have complained about side-conversations among board members and/or with the superintendent. When one is speaking and two others are having a side conversation, we can't hear that conversation.

Watch the video. What do YOU think?

Sue Richland 2 Board over the lawsuit?

Should the Richland 2 School Board be sued over the lawsuit filed in the S.C. Supreme Court?

The Board never authoirzed the lawsuit in open session by a board vote - in public.

At the August 16th Special-Called Board meeting, Trustee Manning made this motion: “I make a motion that the board authorizes the District to engage legal counsel to provide best option and legal strategy to address Appropriations Budget Proviso 1.108, including consulting with Richland County Council with regards [sic] to protecting the health, safety and well-being of our students and employees." 

Read that carefully. Nowhere does it authorize "the District" (meaning, the superintendent") to commence legal action. It authorizes the superintendent to learn the "best option and legal strategy" which, of course, might be not to do anything.

Did the Board, in Executive Session on August 16th, actually give the superintendent the green light to go ahead?

That is, did the Board make a decision to allow the superintendent to proceed? State law does not permit decisions in executive session. Decisions can only be made in public, by vote.

If not (and they should not have done so), did the superintendent act on his own?

If he did, that ought to have a bearing on his evaluation and his revised contract.

So, sue the Board or not?

The State's editorial board is wrong! No "shenanigans"

 At 8:58AM today (9/17/21) The State's editorial board published a follow-up article and used the word "shenanigans" in the headline of its online paper. The State's board is wrong. 

There were NO shenanigans, contrary to the board chair's use of talso he word. Or, if there were, they were pulled by the board's chair and vice-chair. 

Manning supposedly explained "The board’s designee, the superintendent and their respective legal counsel have input and come up with a contract that is then taken to the board." 

What he should have said is "proposed revised contract".

The FACT is that the board never designated a board member to represent the board in negotiations. Did anyone ever hear the board vote on that in public? I didn't. So, an unauthorized representative of the board met with the supt. and counsels of each and played "Let's Make a Deal". Those are the "shenanigans".

Since the chair can call a Special Meeting and the superintendent and the board chair set the agenda for the Special-Calling Board Meeting on September 22, the superintendent is trying to get his way with the end-run at last week's abortion of a meeting. He forgets that he works at Richland 2. He doesn't run Richland 2. He follows directives.

Yet you'd think that he owns Richland 2. And maybe he does, since "the four" (a/k/a (to me) "The Squad" (and that does include McKie, although she'd like to deny it)) fall all over themselves to give him anything he wants. Now he wants more money. 

And exactly why should he get it? Oh, you say, he might leave and go somewhere else. Well, fine; let him. Richland 2 should not be held hostage!

As of 9:48AM today the District has not updated its website to disclose the Special-Called Meeting on September 22. Yesterday that meeting was posted on ww.livestream.com/richland 2, where video space is reserved. No agenda has yet been published. But, if you remember from Tuesday night, the superintendent asked for a Special-Called Meeting with the only item as his contract. 

Some gall, eh? He didn't even wait for one of his worshippers to suggest it.

There is no need for a Special-Called Meeting on September 22. Trustees Agostini, Scott and McFadden should stay away.

The superintendent's desire for more money (and perks?) can wait until the next Regular Meeting on September 28. Approval is guaranteed, if there is a quorum. There is no doubt whatsoever that Holmes, Manning, McKie and Caution-Parker will just sign a blank check. No need to even discuss the revised contract.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Special-Called Board Meeting 9/22/21 - (No) surprise

Remember that song, "Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets?" It's from the 1958 movie, Damn Yankees.

Well, Whatever Baron wants, Baron gets. Or does he?

Richland 2 has called a Special Meeting for September 22, 2021 at 5:00PM. It's not on the District's website yet, but it is scheduled on www.livestream.com/richland2

Who calls Special Meetings? The chair (that's with a small -c-). Who plans the agenda? That would be the chair and the superintendent.

Now just exactly what is the rush for the superintendent to dip further into the Richland 2 money pot?

I wonder whether Trustees Agostini, Scott and McFadden might just happen to have other commitments for that afternoon.

This is an absurd disregard for the time commitment of trustees. Why should they interrupt their lives for something that could just as easily be handled on September 28?

If the superintendent had any respect for the seven board members, he would just ask them to put it on the agenda for September 28.

The State's Editorial about 9/14 board meeting

Be sure to read the editorial published by The State newspaper late this afternoon. Read it here.

The editorial board got it right.

I'm happy to see that support for Trustees Agostini, Scott and McFadden.

Who authorized Holmes, Manning to negotiate with supt?

Who authorized Holmes and Manning to begin re-negotiating Supt. Davis' employment contract and compensation?

Before any board members run off half-cocked and do something on behalf of the board, they are to be authorized to do so. This means there should have been an item on the agenda of a previous board meeting to begin such negotiations.

After a motion, second, discussion and approval by the majority (guaranteed because of the cabal of "the Four"), only then should Holmes and Manning have entered into negotiations with the District's attorney and the superintendent's attorney. And a better choice would have been Holmes OR Manning, paired with one of Agostini, Scott or McFadden.

The deck shouldn't have been stacked in favor of the supt.

Was General Counsel Karla McLawhorn Hawkins used as the District's lawyer? If so, then the superintendent had two attorneys in the room on his own side. Hawkins works for Davis. 

Full disclosure to the public will include the names of the attorneys. On both sides.

Worse than I first thought

I just listened to the re-play of the September 14, 2021 board meeting. It was worse than I thought.

Listen to it. Go to www.livestream.com/richland2 and select the September 14, 2021 meeting. Advance to 13:45 on the timer for the beginning of the meeting at 5:30PM. The board then goes into executive session, which is not broadcast. Advance to 1:14:08, where the public meeting re-convenes.

Skip the first part and advance to 1:16:54 for the fireworks. This is the point where approval of the agenda for the tonight's meeting begins. This is where the meeting begins to disintegrate.

I could analyze for you all the mistakes that were made. The responsibility for the disaster rests squarely on Teresa Holmes' shoulders. If she knew parliamentary procedure, the entire fiasco would have been avoided. And the meeting would have been much shorter. If you want the analysis, let me know. I have detailed notes from the video-recording.

Look particularly at the deer-in-the-headlights expression on Holmes' face after Trustee Agostini makes her secondary motion to remove the superintendent's contract from the agenda. Holmes was lost. She didn't know what to do. 

When Holmes asked the new General Counsel (employee of the District) whether Agostini's motion was germane, the staffer's answer could not be heard. Holmes should have asked Karla Hawkins to step to a microphone. Holmes then asked, "It could go either way?" Apparently, Hawkins indicated yes.

Then Holmes struggled with wording to shoot down Agostini's motion. Holmes asked the attorney if it is in her purview to make a decision about whether Agostini's motion was germane. That was not the original question of the attorney. Of course, Agostini's motion was germane. Holmes didn't want it to be, and she struggled to find a way to boot it.

Holmes made a huge error by not recognizing Trustee McFadden, after Agostini and Scott left the meeting. Holmes said, "Just a minute, Ms. McFadden. I'm sure you are going to join the rest." Meaning to leave the meeting. And then Holmes called on Manning to speak. Again, Holmes demonstrated a gross misunderstanding of parliamentary procedure.

McFadden did speak. She was clear, concise and powerful. Then, while the camera was on McKie, McFadden walked out.

Right then is where the meeting should have adjourned!

It would be in the best interest of Richland Two to remove Holmes from the position of Board Chair and to elect a board member who knows parliamentary procedure. 

Question of the Day: widow or widower

How is a woman whose husband died referred to?

A. Widow

B. Widower

(There is a reason for asking.) Watch for a follow-up article. Put your answer in a Comment below or, for privacy, email it to gusphilpott@gmail.com  Your name or email address will never be made public.

How can you be sure of confidentiality?

I wrote a blog in Illinois, frequently sinking my teeth into the county sheriff's department. The sheriff had his attorney subpoena 27 months' worth of records for my blog, trying to find out where the leaks were. I filed a Motion to Quash the subpoena pro se in Federal Court, and the Magistrate granted my motion, telling the sheriff's attorney she was just on a "fishing expedition" (his words) to uncover the names of deputies who were leaking the dirt to me.

The subpoena was part of a former deputy's wrongful termination lawsuit. I knew I would not reveal my sources, even at the risk of jail time for contempt of court. Fortunately, it never got to that. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

False Statements in The State article

Read carefully today's article in The State about last night's board meeting. Can you spot the lies and other false statements?

The first thing I noticed was the use of an old board photo. It includes former board member James Shadd, who was not re-elected in November 2020. Lashonda McFadden was not pictured or mentioned in the photo caption.

Monica Scott commented on the power claimed by the board chair (trustee-elect) Teresa Holmes. I remember last year when Holmes filled in as board chair and the night she slammed the gavel down like she was in charge of the U.S. Supreme Court. Actually, the board has not "given" more power to the chair. The board has allowed the chair to grab it without a challenge. Maybe that's stopping now.

The article states "Holmes said board members were kept in the loop every step of the way and had weeks to get details on Davis’ proposed contract." If you watched or listened to last night's meeting, you know that Holmes lied when she told the reporter that.

The article continues - “How could they have been cut out of the decision making process when we’re all given the same information at the same time?” The Trustees did NOT get "the same informatino at the same time." Another lie.

When Trustees Agostini, Scott and McFadden walked out, leaving the board with less than a quorum, the ONLY action the chair (Holmes) should have taken was to adjourn the meeting immediately. Holmes was wrong to carry on until the superintendent finally spoke up - twice. First to tell her they had to adjourn, and secondly to remind her that the board had never approved the agenda for the meeting and so could not continue.

Manning then is quoted in the article with an opinion but otherwise false statement - “I think what happened last night was a dereliction of duty and an irresponsible way to govern.” 

The article correctly states "In August, Richland 2’s board voted to request legal advice..." That's exactly what Manning's Motion was. His Motion was NOT to commence legal action. The superintendent did that without the advice and consent of the board.

For that reason alone, he should not be considered for a raise. As a matter of fact, he exceeded his authority and should be terminated for doing so.

The article continues. "Holmes said it was clear the board was voting for legal action ..." and 
“Every board member agreed to do the lawsuit,” Holmes lies again.

There was no vote to begin legal action. Any "vote" in Executive Session, if there was one, is invalid. Is that where Holmes thinks the board voted? They certainly did not so vote for legal action in public session.

The article states that Holmes is "an assistant administrator in Fairfield County Schools" and provides a link to Richland Two's Board Member page. Holmes is no longer employed in Fairfield County Schools. The Board Member page continues obsolete information.

The article continues. "Manning implied other districts have noticed Davis and would be happy to have him." Good. Let them have him.

Read this idiotic statement by Holmes. “In my opinion this should never be able to happen again where three people, who are not a majority of the board, can shut down the business of the district.”

What she fails to say is that "the Squad" (Holmes, McKie, Caution-Parker, Manning) can do whatever they want and completely disregard Agostini, Scott and McFadden, because they, the four, are the majority.

Gall of R2 Superintendent

When last night's Richland 2 school board meeting blew up over the agenda item to give the superintendent a raise, Baron Davis had the gall to suggest that the board ought to meet in a Special-Called Board Meeting to discuss and approve his revised contract.

I hope that legal Trustees Agostini, Scott and McFadden will decline to attend any Special-Called Meeting that includes that agenda item. If they don't attend, the board cannot meet because it won't have a quorum (of five).

Why is the superintendent's contract even open for discussion at this time? Is this a normal review time for his contract? 

Why didn't the board consider the issue of compensation when it lavished praise on him for just doing his job for the past year? On August 13, 2019 the board gave Davis a whopping 12.3% raise of an estimated $23,000. Did he get a pay bump in 2020?

When Davis filed his 2021 Statement of Economic Interests with the South Carolina Ethics Commission on March 17, 2021, he reported $223,882.97 as salary from Richland 2, plus an $18,000 car allowance. He also reported a taxable economic benefit of $760 on insurance provided by the District and $14,000 from the University of South Carolina.

Why does Richland 2 allow him to moonlight for an extra $14,000/year? For $237,000/year Richland 2 ought to get 100% of his time.

Davis also reports a "Family Income" of $78,113 from Richland 2. Does he have a wife working in the District? I thought there were nepotism rules in the District. Maybe not. She might not report directly to him, but indirectly she sure does because he is at the top of the District employee food chain.

Why are the Trustees even allowing any discussion of a compensation increase at this time? Sure, he'll always hold his hand out for more. Gimme, gimme, gimme. So, let him hold his hand out. Just don't put anything in it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

What will Holmes learn?

The lesson for Teresa Holmes from tonight's board meeting is that she is not the Queen of the board. She doesn't get to rule by fiat. She is only one vote when it comes time to vote. 

And vote the board must. She mis-used her authority tonight to shut off other board members who wanted to speak. She didn't listen to the other board members, because she was thinking about how she was going to get her own way.

Watch the replay of the meeting and you see where she gets lost and doesn't know what to do next.

She was elected as board chair at the end of June, and the board could hold another election at any time and elect someone else to be chair. There are really only two good choices: Lindsay Agostini and Monica Scott. 

As a matter of fact, they should hold another election, since Holmes isn't even a legitimate board member.

I wonder what the new Legal Counsel for the District would say, if asked to state the legality of Holmes and McKie being on the board.

Would she make a decision based on the law, or would she make a decision that will preserve her job? And right there is the reason for the school district NOT to have its own, in-house, legal counsel. 

But that's a topic for another article.

Does Holmes have the integrity and the humility to learn from tonight's mistakes?