Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Friendly school board meetings vs. Last night

Remember the nice, friendly, relaxed, school board meetings when Craig Plank was board chair?

Those were the good, ol' days.

Now Teresa Holmes is Chair, and the recent meetings have been the ugliest, most disruptive, chaotic meetings ever. 

The choas right here in Richland 2 reminds me of the chaos in Washington, D.C. 

The November 2022 election here will be a critical one for Richland 2. If voters don't replace Holmes, McKie, Caution-Parker and Manning with strong, positive, Conservative, business-oriented, people-centered, servant leaders, Richland 2 will continue sliding into the muck.

Critical Race Theory must be stopped. Gangs must be stopped. Competence must replace incompetence.

Someone once said, "It's okay to disagree, but don't be disagreeable." 

Last night was a total failure of leadership.

Trustees Agostini, Scott and McFadden tried. 

Did Manning and McKie try? Holmes and Caution-Parker? Well, you were there or watched it. You know what happened.

Read this short article from a 2017 Inc Magazine newsletter: It's OK to Disagree, Just Don't be Disagreeable.

Explosive Ending to 10/13/21 board meeting

You do not want to miss the end of the October 12th board meeting. Go to and start at 2:26:45 with Trustee Agostini's comments. She thanked those attending and then thanked me. With that Holmes slammed down the gavel. Mrs. Agostini did not react to the rude interruption and finished her brief remarks.

Without finger-pointing, then Mrs. McFadden spoke about consideration and being polite. 

At 2:29:45 Trustee Scott began speaking. She too referred to those who had spoken last night. With some she agreed; with some, she did not. But she listened to all. She spoke about when one person has a personal vendetta with someone, and you don't allow them to share (as in last night's meeting). That certainly sounded like she was speaking about Holmes' personal vendetta against me. Trustee Scott said she is disappointed when they (the trustees) don't do the right thing.

Then Trustee Scott made a suggestion that the board chair attend Robert's Rules of Order ethical classes (at this point Holmes butted in and spoke over Trustee Scott, calling her out-of-order). Holmes said, "Thank yuo for a campaign speech." Holmes continued to argue and talk over Trustee Scott, even saying that she wasn't worried about 2022 (the end of her term). 

You'll have to see this, to believe it. What in the world is wrong with Holmes? She was totally off-kilter to interrupt another board member, criticize her, lecture her, and try to shut her down. Trustee Scott had the floor. Holmes needed to suck it up and listen. Maybe even take Trustee Scott's comments to heart. Assuming that heart isn't shriveled up and packed away in dry ice. 

Trustee Scott made a motion that the Chair step down until she received that training. Holmes, still arguing, declared the motion out of order. Mrs.Agostini seconded the motion. Holmes continued to declare the motion out of order. Holmes then directed Caution-Parker to make her board comments. Mrs. Scott still had the floor; she had not finished her comments, and there was a motion on the floor. 

Caution-Parker launched her attack into "the number of people who come up here with these comments." When Mrs. Scott said there was a motion still on the table, Caution-Parker turned toward her and said, "Tough!" Caution-Parkers' (and Holmes') mantra is, "The children..." They forget they are business people in charge of a multi-million dollar business. The administration will take care of the children. The board's job is to run the business. Caution-Parker said she spent 40 years in Richland 2. I have wondered before and wonder again: Does Caution-Parker have 40 years of experience OR one year of experience 40 times?

At that point Libby Roof approached the superintendent and Holmes. Then Holmes claimed the floor and said she was going to make her comments - she interrupted both Scott and Caution-Parker without apology to either. 

Holmes ran out her diatribe about adults using the board for their own personal, political agenda. WHERE DID SHE GET THAT? Oh, wait; I've heard her say those words about me, too! Me? The one and only time I ran for any office was in 2010.

Holmes told Trustee Scott that she didn't have the right to remove her (Holmes) from any position on the board. Then she said, "When you were in your orange suit, we could have mde that motion against you, but we didn't."

Actually, Holmes was wrong on the first point, and she was wrong on the second. The trustees CAN remove Holmes from the position of Chair. The trustees CANNOT remove a person accused of a minor offense. Plus that was really a low blow.

Holmes Blows Vote on Adding Agenda Item

At the October 12th board meeting  (2:19:57) watch the discussion when Trustee Agostini requested an item be added to the agenda of a meeting in the near future to present a report on a teacher in-service about the difference between Critical Race Theory and Culturally Relevant Teaching. 

Then Trustee Agostini makes a secondary motion to add a discussion of Board Policy BD - Organization of the Board to the agenda for the next board meeting, on October 26.

There had been a motion to approve the draft agenda, and then Trustee Agostini made her motion. So it needed a decision (vote), before the draft agenda could be voted on. Holmes couldn't even follow the order of voting. Then she said, "We all make mistakes. You've made some, too." (Gee, I thought board members were not supposed to disparage one another. ("Rules for thee, not for me.")

When it was time to vote, board members voted electronically. The vote was 4-3. The vote PASSED. I waas shocked and looked to see who the fourth vote was. Holmes had voted FOR it. Wow!

Then Holmes realized she had voted For the secondary motion, instead of Against it.

But she had removed her finger from the voting button. Her vote was cast. Voting had closed. The result was shown. It was done. Or it should have been done. Why do I think there would have a huge fight, if one of "The Three" had asked to change a vote.)

Then Holmes says, not to anyone in particular. "I hit the wrong thing. I meant to vote No." 

Gee, so sad, too bad. But the voting was done.

Then she told the recording secretary to change her vote. Any change she attempted to make should have been over-ruled. I guess it was a case of "pick your battles", because no one complained. Holmes was allowed to change her vote, resulting in Trustee Agostini's motion failing, 3-4.

Why won't some of "The Four" (the cabal; the Squad) support adding a Board Policy for discussion?

Why was Holmes asleep at the switch? Did her vision blur because of all the emotional arguments tonight? Are the buttons color-coded and she couldn't tell which one to press? 

Is there something else wrong?

MUST-SEE - Holmes flies off handle

Do not miss the FIREWORKS when the Bond Resolution item came up.

At the October 12, 2021 board meeting an agenda item, Bond Resolution Resolution begins at 2:06.50. After motion and second, discussion began. Dr. Miley answered a general question from Trustee Agostini and explained that the purpose of the Resoltuion was similar to refinancing a home - to get a lower interest rate on a 2013 bond. The District would save about $2,000,000 in interest.

Trustee Agostini asked a second question, about signatures on the Resolution. She mentioned her dilemma in 2019, which resulted in her resignation as Board Secretary. The bond document under discussion then had to be amended because of the then-chair's (McKie) ethics fines.

Holmes blew a fuse.

Agostini continued with the question about the evening's Resolution, because McKie is now the Board Secretary and would have to be a signatory on the Resolution, and McKie still has ethics fines. (It was not mentioned last night, but I had just learned from the S.C. Ethics Commission that McKie still owes $57,100 in fines.)

Holmes came apart at the seams. 

The District should carefully examine Holmes' desk and send her a bill for repair to the surface for any damage caused by her repeated banging of the gavel on the desk.

I can hardly describe the interaction but, if it doesn't result in Holmes' removal as Chair and even from the board, this board is in worse condition than I thought.

It has to be seen; go to  Start at 2:08:40 and watch Holmes tear into Trustee Agostini for attempting to ask a legitimate question of Dr. Miley.

Holmes bullies Mrs. Agostini into silence. Mrs. Agostini tried to continue asking her very important question, and be sure to listen to Holmes' overpowering and disrespecting her. Holmes had no authority to interrupt her and go on a tirade. Holmes assumes authority she does not have.

Other board members should have jumped into the fray with "Point-of-Order"! Do not be intimidated by a bully. Stand up and state loudly, "POINT-OF-ORDER". Use Robert's Rules of Order to remove Holmes from the position as Chair for the rest of the meeting. And if that doesn't get Holmes under control, then three board members should walk out. Actually, six should walk out, but Caution-Parker and McKie definitely won't, and Manning probably won't.

Listen to Holmes lie outright, when Trustee Agostini said a Call for the Vote had to moved and seconded. Holmes said it already had been. It had not. See Robert's Rules of Order §16.6. Did the superintendent know this protocol and keep quiet?

Final speakers - 10/12/2021

(1:51:56) Blythewood mom, Monica Glowinski, was the ninth speaker last night. She said that, when she moved to Blythewood five years ago, she was done with politics. But, after being at last night's meeting, she said, "I'M BACK." 

She has done her homework on masks. They do no good. She is teaching her 10-year-old daughter to be a critical thinker.

Don't we wish all parents did that?

(1:55:44) Matthew Wilder was the tenth and final speaker last night. Matthew brought up Board Policy BCA Board Member Code of Ethics, which addresses potentially slanderous comments made by board members in a public forum. And how that should be under the jurisdiction of the board and heard by the board.

Thank you, Matthew!

Matthew quoted salaries of a variety of public officials and stacked them up against the Richland Two superintendent pay of $244,000/year., a 31% increase since 2016. Whew!

Thanks to all the speakers and especially to all in the audience who endured the antics of the board chair during public participation. (Remember when she used that word in a previous meeting? I think it was the September 14th meeting - the "walk-out" meeting. Was that really only a month ago?

Larry Small tells it like it is

At (1:48:25) Larry Smalls lays it out to the board. Be sure to listen to his brief, forceful remarks on at the October 12, 2021 meeting.

Funny how he got away with referring to the superintendent several times, and never once did Holmes smack him down or rap her gavel. Can someone explain that to me?

Larry Smalls would be a great board member and a great Chair of the board. He would lead by example and demonstrate Leadership Skills, because he knows what they are. 

I don't have any reason to think that Larry is about to run for the board. After all, who would want to put up with "The Four" who hold the present majority?

But wait! Times are changing. Those "Four" all up for(Hear her drivel during the Board and Superintendent Comments. Manning has been on the board since 2010; it's way past time for him to go.

And, since Holmes and McKie, aren't even legitimate board members, they can't run for "re-election". That won't keep them off the ballot. Not even still owing $57,100 to the South Carolina Ethics Commission is likely to keep McKie from running again.

A few video clips of Holmes' running rough-shod over other board members might be enough to sharply reduce her odds of being elected again.

Larry wound up with "Responsibility without Accountability leads to Autonomy." He mentioned earlier than the board abdicated its responsibility (to the superintendent). 

Thank you, Larry!

I recall a bond document in 2019 where the board did just that. On the 10th page of boilerplate, right at the end, the board gave the superintendent full authority over the bond issue. My guess is that most board members were tired and bleary-eyed by the time they got to Page 10, and they didn't even realize what they were signing (or didn't care).

Could it have been worse?

What should the legal consequences of Teresa Holmes' behavior last night be?

For your entertainment and outrage, review last night's video ( and begin at 1:43:20, where I get a few words in before Holmes launches her attack on Richland 2 property, that poor desk under her gavel.

What was directed at me is much less important than her gross disrespect for Trustee Agostini and for Trustee Scott. That is what I suggest you focus on.

Both raised points-of-order, and Holmes refused to recognize them. 

One of the problems is that the board has not yet learned how to deal with her. I hope they will study Robert's Rules of Order and get that legal expert, Attorney Helen McFadden, back for another training. But it won't do much good, unless Attorney McFadden gets Holmes behind a closed door and says, "You simply cannot do what you are doing." 

Now I don't see a hired consultant doing that. Not if she ever wants any more work from Richland 2.

Should the school district's new General Counsel and the Superintendent sit Holmes down and say, "You simply cannot do what you are doing." The superintendent is secure until June 30, 2025, so he doesn't have much to worry about. And the General Counsel works for him, so she probably won't get canned for speaking plainly to Holmes.

Someone took me to task recently for addressing Holmes as "Holmes", rather than as Trustee Holmes or Dr. Holmes or Ms. Holmes. 

I don't mind admitting that I have absolutely zero respect for Holmes. She has none for me; I don't feel obliged to return any.

She is not a legal Trustee of the Board. While she was elected to office, she has never taken the oath of office legally. She is usurping public office. She is an imposter. She is not entitled to pay (salary/stipend) or any expenses from Richland 2. I intend to renew my request to the FBI to investigate Richland 2 for illegal disbursement of public funds to a person not entitled to receive them (Holmes; McKie, too).

She's not a doctor; she is (supposed to be) an educator. I'd say the jury is still out on that one. If a person has an Ed.D, I'll call that person "Dr." in the classroom, but not away from the classroom.

Point-of-Order AND Robert's Rules of Order

The following email has been sent this morning to all board members, a legal expert on Robert's Rules of Order, the outside attorney for the school district, the employee General Counsel for the District, the superintendent and three reporters.

At last night's contentious school board meeting, a serious parliamentary error occurred numerous times.

Robert's Rules of Order addresses Point-of-Order in several sections, beginning at §42 Assignment of the Floor; Debate

See also, §62 REMOVAL FROM OFFICE ... MISCONDUCT and Remedies for Abuse of Authority by the Chair in a Meeting. §62.2 ff
Rise to your feet and state "Point of Order"
Chair must recognize the member
Robert's Rules is clear what to do next.

You could have (and should have) removed Holmes from her position as Chair at last night's meeting.

§62.10 Removal of Presiding Officer from Chair for All or Part of a Session

I strongly urge you to hire Attorney Helen McFadden to return and conduct an intensive training on Robert's Rules of Order. Last night's meeting was an embarrassing shambles of vitriol and disrespect by the chair, toward other board members and toward the public. 

Holmes and McKie are not legitimate members of the board, because neither has ever taken the oath of office legally. How much longer will you allow this condition to continue? And, because they are not legitimate board members, they cannot serve as officers. The board made a serious error on June 29, 2020 in electing Holmes as chair and McKie as Secretary.

S.C. Code of Laws 8-13-1110 reads "SECTION 8-13-1110. Persons required to file statement of economic interests.
(A) No public official, regardless of compensation, and no public member or public employee as designated in subsection (B) may take the oath of office or enter upon his official responsibilities unless he has filed a statement of economic interests in accordance with the provisions of this chapter with the appropriate supervisory office."

Holmes and McKie took an oath on November 13, 2018.
Holmes and McKie filed their SEIs on December 4, 2018.

Ask yourself: Did they file their SEIs before they took an oath of office?

Gus Philpott

"She's a Bully"

After I left last night's school board meeting at R2i2 and after I had left the property entirely, I had a conversation with a person who had watched the meeting on Livestream. It was only the second Richland 2 meeting that this person had watched. The first was the September 14th meeting - the "walk-out" meeting.

What was this person's reaction to Teresa Holmes? Without prompting or hesitation, the person said, "She's a bully." 

Watch the meeting. Go to  Select the October 12, 2021 meeting. Fast-forward past the executive session. The meeting re-convenes at 1:15:45 on the recording..

Public Participation starts at 1:22:34, and Holmes reads the rules of the road for the public. Briefly, they are: 

- each person gets three minutes
- meetings are streamed live and recorded
- speakers must refrain from using inappropriate language
- don't engage in any form of personal absue or attack
- must not refer to any student or employee by name
- questions "aksed" (asked) will be referred to staff and may be answered at a later time
- members of the public may address the board on any subject within (emphasized) board authority

(1:23:16) The first speaker played a recording of a conversation with his 7-year-old daughter about masks. Holmes tells him not to think she is rude, but "they say I'm a little abrupt sometimes", and indicates she signal him when he is close to the three-minute mark. That remark was totally unnecessary because the speaker can clearly see a time-remaining digital clock on the projection screen at the front of the room.

(1:26:27) The second speaker is Jeff Phillipy (spelling?). He pointed out numbers and flaws in studies, because there were no control groups. Jeff quoted information from numerous studies regarding masks. Listen to his remarks.

(1:29:51) Gary Ginn was the third speaker. He spoke on his Constitutional right to wear a mask or not wear a mask. His son at Blythewood High School sat in a conference room for two days and got nine zeroes from his teachers for not being in class! Is that "education"? Gary said, "I know you're smiling, Miss Holmes". And for that Gary was gaveled into submission. "YOU WILL NOT CALL NAMES," Holmes told him. 

Now that is really stretching the rule not to refer to any student or employee by name - one of the rules Holmes had read. He was addressing her, not referring to her. This was an early indication of the coming meltdown on the part of Holmes. She really likes that gavel. When Gary's time expired, it was a good thing he didn't have his fingers on her desk.

(1:33:34) Mary Livermore was the fourth speaker. She has two children and had pulled both of them out of Richland Two, for different reasons. The middle school for which her son was headed was all-technology based and had NO books.

(1:37:36) Then Renee Lucido spoke and expressed concern about the teaching of Critical Race Theory being taught in Richland 2 schools. She described what CRT causes, ending with societal destruction. Many in the audience applauded Renee's promise to the board to fight to keep Marxist ideology out of our schools.

(1:40:57) Katie Lakvold was the next speaker. She expressed disappointment at the lack of responses to her emails from most of the board. When Katie mentioned that the chairman had not responded, Holmes quickly interrupted with "We don't do that." None of her five phone calls to the superintendent's office was returned. Katie mentioned that children (students) are terrified of getting sick from something that has a 98-99% survival rate. 

(1:43:20) I know you've been waiting for the FIREWORKS. Here they come. The next speaker was Gus Philpott. Within seconds Holmes attempted to gavel me into silence as I summarized (without naming her) words in her Sept. 15th email to me and her comment on Sept. 16th in The Voice newspaper. At that point Trustee Agostini asked for recognition. Holmes ignored her. Holmes demanded that I speak only about something over which the board has jurisdiction. (I was getting to that, but she kept interrupting me.)

Dr. Scott asked twice for recognition. Holmes told her, "Just a minute. I'm talking." Dr. Scott asked again for recognition. Holmes told her she was out-of-order. Dr. Scott continued to ask for recognition. Holmes, angrily, banged the gavel and told Dr. Scott that she was out-of-order, adding "Please respect."

Dr. Scott was absolutely IN ORDER. Holmes doesn't know what Order is. Dr. Scott got in "He's not calling any names", as Holmes continued to bang the gavel. 

I think it was Mrs. Agostini that then called a Point-of-Order. Holmes said, "I did not acknowledge your point-of-order." 

Holmes tried to cut me off, and it sounded like she summoned Security, but she was not the only one talking. It sounded like Mrs. Agostini who said, "I think our board chair is out-of-order." When Holmes summoned Security, you can hear the audible gasp from the audience.

As I stepped away from the podium, Will Anderson approached and politely asked me if I'd step outside with him. We had a nice conversation in the hallway. He wanted things to calm down, and I told him he had asked the wrong person to step outside.

I missed the beginning of Larry Smalls' remarks, but you'll want to hear them. They begin at (1:48:25)

Be sure to watch Holmes' "handling" of me. Having watched the recording this morning, I agree with the person who told me last night that "She's a bully."

In the next article I'll address what Robert's Rules of Order has to say about Point-of-Order, right after I send an email to the full Board.