Questions surround the resignation of top Richland Co. leader following disparaging comments to EMS workers

Questions surround the resignation of top Richland Co. leader following disparaging comments to EMS workers

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Questions still abound about the resignation of a top Richland County leader following comments he made to employees.

The assistant county administrator, Kevin Bronson, resigned and not fired after public backlash for comments he made when referencing suicide during a public meeting with EMS workers.

His resignation came Monday morning after protesters demanded that he be terminated from his role with the county. Instead, he handed them a letter where he admitted to telling first responders that suicide was an OK option if they were unhappy with their jobs.

The county did not answer any of our emails on Tuesday regarding the position after Bronson handed in his resignation on Monday. Some council members aren't happy with it, saying taxpayers deserve more.

"I think it's plain to see right now that the morale is very low and changes need to be made," Councilman Seth Rose said.

The assistant county administrator oversees all public safety departments throughout Richland County including Richland County EMS. Several sources say that this is just the latest chain of events to unfold in what some are calling a troubled organization.

Rose was asked about a council meeting on Dec.15, 2015 when the agenda says the topic was moved to a subcommittee to examine the county's EMS Department with input from EMS workers.

"The first process when you have somebody approaches you with an issue, you have to have it looked at, examined and have a report brought back to you," Rose explained. "I wanted to address the EMS workers concerns and a subcommittee analyze what's taking place within EMS and that was done but not to my satisfaction."

That 2015 county council meeting is when Councilman Rose says workers were trying to express concerns. But nearly two years later, EMS workers found themselves trying once again in front of County Administrator Kevin Bronson when they were told to kill themselves if they didn't like it.

Now several EMS workers feel their questions go unanswered once again. Councilman Rose says he's working to hold a public forum on these issues as early as September.

"I'd like to have an opportunity to cross examine the new staff over this department about some of the issues that we're seeing in a public forum because the public needs to know," Rose said. "I'm going to continue to advocate on behalf of the EMS workers."

We have reached back out to the director of Richland County EMS, Michael Byrd, who declined an interview with us Tuesday and in the future in a statement, "Mr. Byrd is not interested in an interview."

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