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.