COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A Richland County administrator who reportedly told county EMS workers to kill themselves if they didn't like their jobs has submitted his resignation.
Kevin Bronson submitted his resignation Monday morning in a letter.
In that letter, Bronson admitted the things he said during a meeting with EMS workers were a "horrible and terrible thing for me to say."
"So I'm looking through this list with 50 different problems and if it's really that bad you can just kill yourself or leave," Bronson reportedly said, according to one of the people in the audience.
Bronson's letter was submitted as EMS workers protested his comments. Columbia firefighters, retired law enforcement, and EMS workers from across the state joined in the protest.
"I think that first responders are called to their field but they have to be dedicated and trained to such a high degree that to have someone say something like that shows me that they have no real concept of what these people do every day," resident Taylor Wilson said. "Every day for multiple calls first responders show up to help people on their worst day. We are not showing up for them on theirs."
David Arnold, director of Debrief Incorporated, a crisis management group for first responders, protested alongside EMS workers Monday morning called Bronson's words "absolutely appalling."
"To say that to first responders who deal with death and crisis situations every day was not only insensitive but it was unprofessional and it was childish," Arnold said.
Bronson seemed to agree in his letter.
"My disrespectful words hurt and offended many people in the Richland County Government, especially the EMS workers, EMS workers across this country and surviving friends and families of loved ones of suicide," Bronson wrote. "I am sorry."
Bronson said he had hoped he'd weather the storm of controversy.
"While I wanted to right the ship by staying on board in my job, that is not appropriate," Bronson said.
Richland County Administrator Gerald Seals also released a statement, saying Bronson's comments were "inappropriate" and "cavalier."
"While public recounting of the incident has been mischaracterized, the fact that such comments were made will not be tolerated. Although this Assistant Administrator promptly apologized, more needed to be done – and he has been disciplined. On behalf of Richland County, I also apologize for what happened and regret that an employee in the Administrator's Office spoke in such a manner. I am committed to ensuring all County employees know they are valued and respected," the statement said.