Tuesday, August 24, 2021

What I Would Have Said

I intended to address the school board tonight. Manning created a new Policy on-the-spot to deny a speaker who wished to yield her three minutes to me.

The following are my prepared remarks for tonight's meeting.

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

My name is Gus Philpott.

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." 

As worded, the Motion did not authorize the superintendent to begin legal action. It directed him to get legal advice. He should have brought the best option and legal strategy back to the board for consideration and action. Unless …..  UNLESS … there was a backroom deal in executive session, undisclosed to the public, that it was the board’s intention for the superintendent to proceed with a lawsuit.

Was there?

Is that what the Chair refused to talk about last Monday? Is that why the board chair stiff-armed Trustee Agostini when she asked for clarification? Had the board already given the superintendent the green light to trot off to court? State law forbids decisions in Executive Session.

Was either of the two personal-injury law firms that filed the case last Friday primed and ready to file? How did the superintendent learn the best option and legal strategy and confer with the Richland County Council so quickly? Did he engage the existing legal counsel for the District at all? He covered an amazing amount of ground in just three days.

Carl Solomon handles Wrongful Death, Tractor Trailer Collisions, Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Products Liability, and Medical Malpractice matters.

Skyler Hutto is a part-time public defender and his legal work includes Civil Litigation, Contract Disputes, Criminal Defense, DUI Defense, Automobile Accidents, Traffic Violations, and General Litigation.

The website of neither firm contains any reference to experience, skill or expertise in handling school business.

How did a case get filed in the Supreme Court without Motion, Second, discussion and vote of this board – in public?

I urge you to direct Attorneys Solomon and Hutto to withdraw the filing. Explain to them that the superintendent was not authorized to engage them to file.

The board chair issued a public statement on Friday that was not completely truthful. The chair should be sanctioned by the board for violating Board Policy BBAA.

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