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:

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  

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. 


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 "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."