Butch Kirven plans to hold a private meeting with officials about agency's financial difficulties
APRIL 12, 2012 1:18 p.m. (5)
Since Kirven controls the agenda of the Committee of the Whole, it is not likely the meeting will be held anytime soon, Councilman Joe Dill told the Journal. “We intend to keep asking,” Dill said.
State Department of Disabilities and Special Needs Director Beverly A. H. Buscemi told the Journal Wednesday that her agency’s Internal Audit Department is in the process of conducting its own audit of the Greenville County DSN’s books.
The audit is not yet complete, Buscemi said.
Documents provided to the Journal by a source close to the situation at DSN show that former board chairman Connie Holmes signed a contract with the agency for consulting services on Jan. 1, 2011, that paid her $5,850 a month for a 30-hour week.
The move to hire Connie Holmes was questioned in the DSN board’s own 2011 audit report as a potential conflict of interest, and the contract with Holmes was terminated shortly after the audit came out in October 2011. She remains with the agency serving on a volunteer basis.
The situation leading up to Connie Holmes’ hiring was also questioned by the audit when the DSN board approved a five-fold increase in then-Executive Director Brent Parker’s ability to execute purchases from $15,000 to $75,000 in August 2010.
The board is still paying Holmes’ husband, David, a retainer of $1,500 a month, plus expenses, to represent the board as attorney, documents dated Dec. 3, 2010, show.
The Holmes’ contracts gave the couple a $7,350 monthly income from DSN at a time when the agency has a shortfall of more than $1 million and was making sharp cutbacks in services and staff.
Kirven said he felt assured that the agency’s board is doing all it can to correct a smorgasbord of problems after a private meeting last week between Kirven, Dill, Councilman Willis Meadows, Councilwoman Lottie Gibson and DSN board Chairwoman Roxie Kincannon and interim Executive Director Patrick Haddon.
Kirven called the meeting productive. “There are just too many balls in the air right now for a formal meeting between council and the board to be productive,” Kirven told the Journal this week.
Dill and Meadows, however, characterized the meeting as an attempt by Kincannon to distract attention from the issues the board faces and instead attack the messenger by claiming Meadows has no authority to ask the DSN board for explanations.
In a press release following the private meeting with council members, Kincannon said, “Councilman Willis Meadows has embarrassed himself and Greenville County Council. Mr. Meadows’ violations of Council rules, illegal demands, and recklessly false accusations leave no other conclusion. I hope the rest of Greenville County Council takes note of Mr. Meadows’ blatant abuse of his Public Works Committee chairmanship.
“The Public Works Committee has no authority over the Greenville Disabilities Board because we do not pave roads or build sidewalks,” she continued. “Apparently Councilman Meadows was unclear on that before today. If any question remains, I will happily invite Councilman Meadows to drop by the Disabilities Board and confirm with his own two eyes that we are not secretly constructing bridges or installing clandestine sewer lines.”
County Attorney Mark Tollison, who also attended the meeting with Kincannon and Haddon, said any council committee can, at any time, call for a meeting with officials of a duly constituted public body.
APRIL 19, 2012 10:42 a.m. (3)
APRIL 26, 2012 12:01 p.m. (0)