Sunday, October 10, 2021

Mitch McConnell hits back at Merrick Garland

Earlier today I finished preparing my statement for Tuesday night's school board meeting.

Just now I read this article that explains U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's reaction to Merrick Garland's October 4th announcement that likens some parents to domestic terrorists. Mitch must have sneaked a peek at the draft of my statement!

Read that article carefully.

McConnell claims that Garland's Memo could be a clamp down on parents' Constitutional rights. Exactly! Listen to my statement on Tuesday night - assuming I don't get cut off before I get to that part.

McConnell calls Garland's words "ominous rhetoric". 

Republicans on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee said on October 7, "...the FBI should not be involved in quashing and criminalizing discourse that is well beneath violent acts.”

Read the article slowly, carefully and thoughtfully. You might even want to print it.

Did Trustees Violate Quorum Law?

On or about October 5, 2021, there was a reception at the home of Fort Jackson's Commanding General and his wife, Gen. and Mrs. Patrick R. Michaelis. A number of Richland Two's trustees attended that reception.

Who was there? Holmes, Yes. Manning? McKie? Agostini? Scott? McFadden? Caution-Parker?

In their excitement to get to the party, did they violate South Carolina law regarding quorum?

If four were there at that same time, under South Carolina law (S.C. Code of Laws Title 30, Chapter 4) that probably constituted a quorum, requiring notice in advance to the public.

No matter that it was a social occasion. No matter that official business may not have been planned. Richland Two is proud of its relationship with Fort Jackson and the programs and services that are provided to students who are members of the military family.

Section 30-4-20(d) "Meeting" means the convening of a quorum of the constituent membership of a public body, whether corporal or by means of electronic equipment, to discuss or act upon a matter over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power.

Quorum is definied in South Carolina law as "unless otherwise defined by applicable law means a simple majority of the constituent membership of a public body." (Code of Laws 30-4-20(e))

S.C. Code of Laws, Title 30 - Public Records, Chapter 4, Freedom of Information Act may apply. Did the Board get advice before the reception from the General Counsel (employee) of the school district or from Attorney Helen McFadden, a FOIA and Robert's Rules of Order expert?

Public bodies often find themselves in hot water when too many members show up in the same place at the same time. In this case, the magic number, under State law, is four (4). Board members must be scrupulous about not violating the quorum law.

Richland 2 Board Policy states that a quorum for doing business is five (5). That may be fine as a "policy", but it is State law that sets a quorum as a simple majority of seven. That's four.

Law trumps* Policy.

"Ignorance of the law is no excuse." Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935)

Why do I question this? When I lived in Illinois, public bodies (city councils; town councils, village councils) were often in trouble, after members showed up at parties, gatherings, etc. and too many members from any one public body were present at the same time. The wise public body was alert to that and its members came and went at different times, specifically to avoid a quorum's being present.

* NOTE to all you folks with TDS. "trumps" is a verb, not a last name.

Holmes Boils Over at The Voice

The Voice of Blythewood & Fairfield County newspaper wrote a great story about the Richland 2 Board Meeting, out of which Trustees Scott, Agostini and McFadden walked on September 14. If you haven't read that September 16th article yet, click here:

Publisher Barbara Ball hit the nail squarely on its head. She got it right.

Trustee-elect and acting board chair Teresa Holmes is shown in the screen-grab with that story to be wagging her finger to her left. That may have been right at the time when she should have recognized Trustee McFadden, but instead shut her down and let Vice Chair Manning speak first. McFadden had asked to be recognized, after Trustees Scott and Agostini had walked out. Holmes can be heard on the recording saying, "Just a second, Ms. McFadden, I’m sure you’re going to join them.”

Shutting down Trustee McFadden and uttering such a disrespectful remark to her were two massive parliamentary errors by Holmes.

Holmes' nose got out-of-joint at the article in the Voice, and Holmes tore into the newspaper in her comment to the story on the same date, September 16. Holmes' letter read:

"This article is yet again another example Yellow Journalism. I urge the community to watch the board meeting for the real events of the meeting. The rag of a paper might as well be the Gus Philpot show along with who him and his band of racist choose to endorse or follow. The community is well aware of how this paper hacks up a story to suit their hate. The real story is how parents and the community were cheated out of information they needed by reckless behavior and dereliction of duty. I know this paper and the crew working for this rag will continue slant and half report stories to deface those of us like myself who have called them out as the racist they are and I have a filed legal complaint against their silent stooge Gus z Philpot .Truth in journalism does not exist for minority leaders in the let’s get them grudge fill piece of trash. Again to see what really happened log into R2 Livestream."  Source:

Holmes invites you to watch the livestream recording of the September 14, 2021 board meeting. If you haven't watched it already, do just that. Go to and select that date. 
Fast-forward to 1:16:50 for the fireworks after the executive session. Holmes calls for approval of the agenda, and this is where the meeting begins to disintegrate. 

Don't miss the "deer-in-the-headlights" look on Holmes' face after Trustee Agostini makes her motion. That is the point at which I wondered whether she is wearing an earpiece and getting advice from "someone behind the curtain." 

I hadn't seen Holmes' comment in The Voice until this morning, when it was sent to me. I must admit to being curious about who this "silent stooge Gus z Philpot" is. I'd like to meet him, since his name is so close to mine. I hope he'll contact me after her legal complaint is served on him. 

SCSBA Guide for School Board Members

Be sure to begin reading the publication on the website of the south Carolina School Boards Association called

get on board - your service as a school board member

This guide for school board members contains 21 pages.

If all Richland 2 school board members, including trustees-elect Holmes and McKie, were given a one-question pop quiz, which they had to answer honestly, what would their answers be to this question:

What percentage of "get on board" have you carefully read?

From the behavior of some of them, the correct answer would probably be "Less than 2%".

I skimmed that guide, and future blogposts will address certain of the contents, such as

Vision - "Adopt a shared vision based on community beliefs to guide local education." (Page 2)

Oath of Office (Page 3) 

ethical principles - "encourage an open exchange of ideas by all board members during the decision-making process" (Page 4)

ethical principles - "...enact policies and official actions only after full discussion at such meetings..."

ethical principles - "work with other board members in a conscientious and courteous manner"

Act ethically. "Exhibit good character and self-discipline" (Page 5)

OK, I'll stop here. Are you starting to get the picture?

Wait; one more.

Duties - "Come to board meetings prepared." (Page 6)

Check it out for yourself. Find your favorite and post it in the comment section.