This is the (not-so) proud owner of a $57,100 debt to the South Carolina Ethics Commission. Who is it?
Amelia McKie, trustee-elect of the Richland 2 School Board.
Her debt was $51,700 in February 2019, when I figured out that she was not a legitimate member of the school board. Why isn't she?
McKie has never taken the oath of office legally.
She was elected to her second term on November 6, 2018. The oath was administered to her on November 13, 2018, but that was three weeks before she became eligible to take it. She should have filed her Statemet of Economic Interests Report (SEI) with the South Carolina Ethics Commission before taking the oath!
She did file that SEI on December 4, 2018 and, on that date, she first became eligible to take the oath of office and commence the official responsibilities of the office of school board trustee.
Because she has never taken the oath legally, she has been usurping public office, receiving tax-payer funds as a monthly stipend, and receiving expenses from the public monies of the school district.
Due to additional violations of ethics laws, her debt now totals $57,100.
She apparently has no qualms about thinking she is qualified to serve and oversee a $300,000,000 annual budget of the school district, even though her debt remains so high and she has trouble filling out the required forms for the Ethics Commission's quarterly and annual reports.
What should happen now?
At the very least, she should raise her right hand and take the oath of office. Even though she'd be more than three years late in doing so, she would become a legal member of the board.
But then the District would have to go back through three years' worth of Board records and remove every vote she cast.
Or she could just resign from the board. They can't kick her off because of the fines from the Ethics Commssion because, unfortunately, there is no South Carolina law that prohibits holding (or running for) public office if you owe a huge debt for ethics fines.
McKie's term-of-office ends in November 2022. Perhaps the voters will be wise enough this time not to re-elect her. They sure missed the boat last time!