An investigative report released Wednesday from the South Carolina Ethics Commission accuses Greenwood County Council members of violating state law.
The report by Ethics Commission investigators is directed to the commission’s executive director. The letter says members of the council violated state laws in regard to the Council Fund and statements of economic interest. The funds were intended to be used for members to pay for expenses incurred during the performance of their duties, such as travel expenses like paying for gas. However, the council members were not required to keep receipts for the items purchased with expense funds.
In the in-district expense fund portion of the report, investigators said council members gave themselves pay raises without proper voting procedures. “(The fund) resulted in an increase in the five council members’ compensation in conflict with (state law), specifically that any increase in compensation must be done by ordinance, and it must not take effect until after the next general election,” the report said.
However, the investigators’ report said that the four-year statute of limitations had passed since the fund’s inception. Therefore, Council will not face any charges for the violations.
The investigators also cited the Council District Allotment Fund in their report. That fund, which the council approved, allowed each council member to spend the money in their district as they sought fit. In the opinion of the investigators, they found the policy inherently flawed and made recommendations on how to rectify the policy.
Investigators also examined the council’s summary of statements of economic interest and cited three council members for failing to file timely reports. The members are Gonza L. Bryant, Robert E. Templeton and Williams R. Dominick. In the opinion of investigators, there are possible violations that must be further investigated and presented to the State Ethics Commission to determine if charges will filed against individual council members.
Anne Eller of Greenwood affiliate WCRS contributed to this report.