When I write to Teresa Holmes and Amelia McKie, I address them as trustee-elect. I do not address them as Trustee Holmes and Trustee McKie.
Why do I do this? I assure you - it is not intended as disrespectful. I address them in this manner because it is correct.
Holmes and McKie have never taken the oath-of-office legally. They remain trustees-elect.
An oath-of-office was administered to them on November 13, 2018, but neither was eligible to take the oath on that date. They had not filed their Statements of Economic Interests (SEI) with the South Carolina Ethics Commission, as required by State law.
As a result of contact by The Voice of Blythewood & Fairfield County newspaper, both filed their SEIs on December 4, 2018.
On December 4, 2018 each first became eligible to take the oath.
Neither has ever taken the oath since December 4, 2018.
I can only assume that a lawyer has advised the school district on this matter. If the lawyer told the District that there was no problem, I am doubtful about that advice.
The law is the law. The law was not followed. It's a short, simple law. Easy to understand. Easy to follow. The South Carolina Code of Laws states:
Disclosure of Economic InterestsSECTION 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. If a public official, public member, or public employee referred to in this section has no economic interests to disclose, he shall nevertheless file a statement of inactivity to that effect with the appropriate supervisory office. All disclosure statements are matters of public record open to inspection upon request.
Here is the correct order.
1. File the SEI
2. Take the oath-of-office
3. Enter upon official responsibilities
The correct order is 1-2-3. The order is NOT 2-3-1.
It was suggested to me that the error was just a "technicality." Nope! Sorry. Good try. No pass.
Why have Holmes, McKie, the school board, and the school district dug in their heels? Why haven't the five legal Trustees insisted that Holmes and McKie take the oath-of-office legally? Why doesn't this come up at every board meeting?
If the board insisted that Holmes and McKie recuse themselves from any vote on the matter, a Motion to direct Holmes and McKie to remove themselves from the board until they take the oath-of-office legally would get a vote of 3-2, a passing vote. Agostini, Scott and McFadden would vote in favor. Manning and Caution-Parker would vote against, although they too ought to vote in favor.
In every communication to the board, I address Holmes as "trustee-elect Holmes" and McKie as "trustee-elect McKie". I shall stop so addressing them, as soon as they become legitimate members of the school board.
And because they are not legitimate members of the board, they cannot serve as Chair and Secretary, respectively. This means that all documents (school bond resolutions, etc.) are worthless, because legal signatures are not affixed. Thanks to Manning and Caution-Parker for creating this legal mess on June 29, 2020, when they nominated Holmes and McKie as board officers.
I invite you to do so, too.