Legislators want Haley to step in, dismiss leaders at Recreation Commission

Published: Oct. 13, 2016 at 7:04 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2016 at 10:09 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Members of the Richland County Legislative Delegation are asking Gov. Nikki Haley to step in immediately and dismiss five members of the Richland County Recreation Commission after the executive director was indicted on Wednesday.

In a 17-page letter to Haley, the delegation lays out six grounds for the dismissal of Marie Green, Barbara Mickens, Weston A. Furgess, Jr., George D. Martin, Jr., and Joseph B. Weeks.

The letter says those five members could be dismissed by Haley under state law for "acts of malfeasance, incompetence, misconduct, and persistent neglect of duty."

According to the delegation, the RCRC commissioned a $35,000 investigatory report on Executive Director James Brown III, but still voted 5-2 in favor of keeping Brown on board.

"We believe this report provides conclusive evidence of Director Brown's wrongdoing," the letter said.

Brown was indicted on Oct. 12, 2016 on one count of misconduct in office.

The indictment alleges that from 2012 to 2015, Brown used his position as Executive Director to coerce and attempt to coerce female employees into having sexual contact with him.

"It's really disappointing," Gary Moore, a Trenholm Little League past president expressed.

Moore said he is hoping for a change.

"We've been trying for the past couple of years to work with Richland County Recreation Commission on various facilities upgrades, and they have been helpful at times. They've upgraded the facilities and dugouts here at Trenholm, and the roofs, and the dugouts at one of the fields at Satchel Ford, but we needed other improvements," Moore said. "The children are the real losers because they don't get the facilities that they deserve."

SC Senator Joel Lourie and a bipartisan group of colleagues have been looking into all kinds of allegations about what's been going on behind the doors of RCRC. He said they sent the letter to Governor Haley explaining why the law would be on her side if she chooses to boot the five members of the RCRC's board.

"It's the worst example of politics and government dysfunction and disillusionment that I've ever seen. It's the damnedest thing that I've ever seen," Senator Lourie said.

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