Officials hope control of Richland Co. Recreation Commission turned over to county

Officials hope control of Richland Co. Recreation Commission turned over to county

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Richland County Recreation Commission is rife with allegations of nepotism, misconduct, and mismanagement. And that's troublesome to Richland County Councilman Seth Rose.

"We need to fix what is occurring to restore public trust and to make sure that taxpayer dollars are being spent appropriately," Rose said.

Right now, Rose said there's not much he can do as a council member. He said the county has little control over the commission even though its name is attached to the commission and even though the county funds it.

"I can tell you, as a Richland County Councilman, it's very frustrating," Rose said.

Instead of being appointed by county officials, the board that oversees the Richland County Recreation Commission is appointed by state representatives and senators.

"This department is too important to citizens of Richland County to have part-time oversight," Rose said.

Now, Rose is speaking out and hoping the law will be changed to give the county more control.

"Local government has the staff, whether it's a city manager or a county administrator or executive employees all down the line, to oversee agencies," Rose said.

Rep. James Smith of Richland County doesn't need to be convinced. He's already on board.

"Reform is key," he said.

Smith said the outdated way the commission is governed needs to be changed. Smith also believes it would be more appropriate for the county to oversee the commission and he's prepared to file legislation to give the county that control.

"What you have is a system that really lacks accountability, lacks transparency, lacks the focus, and I think just simply they've lost their way," Smith said.

Rose said with that kind of control, the recreation commission might become a department in the county government. That would mean it would answer directly to the county council and county administrator.

Rep. Beth Bernstein also said she'd be in favor of turning over control of the Richland County Recreation Commission to the county.

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