Tensions high at R2 school board meeting as ethics are called into question

Tensions high at R2 school board meeting as ethics are called into question

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Several moments of back and forth at the Richland School District 2 Board meeting tonight as the discussion continued over the status of board Chair Amelia McKie as news broke that she owed more than $51,000 in ethics fines.

During that meeting, McKie apologized for her shortcomings with the South Carolina Ethics Commission and said she’s working the issues out with representatives there.

“The chair has not reached out to me to acknowledge, apologize, deny, clarify or correct any civil violations or fines imposed,” said board member Lindsay Agostini before asking McKie to step down as board chair.

Several members from the public spoke up during the meeting, showing a community torn between asking for McKie to immediately resign and offering support for her to stay in her position.

“I think the issue is clear that Mrs. Mckie violated numerous provisions of the ethics commission rules,” said Gus Philpott who called for her to resign.

Others believed that McKie was being targeted.

“The ethics commission has a debtors list self admittedly of about 28 pages,” said Myra Cunningham who spoke out to support McKie. “ So this isn’t anything that is uncommon with public officials and I think she has been singled out.”

Almost lost in tonight’s drama, a new policy was proposed that would allow sitting board members to vote a fellow member out of a leadership position as an officer if the supermajority votes in favor. That proposal will be voted on in a future meeting, but there’s no telling if, or how, that could affect McKie’s position as board chair.

“I made a number of mistakes,” McKie said. “Some were mistakes, some were not filed on time. I am responsible, and I am not running from those problems. It is my desire to put this behind me and move forward. I’ve learned a lot from my experience. It’s a problem that certainly won’t happen again.”

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