Lexington 5 school board member fighting ouster effort

tflach@thestate.comJanuary 26, 2013 

Lexington-Richland 5 school board member Kim Murphy is ready to fight possible ouster for alleged nonresidency.

“Other members do not like having a taxpayer watchdog on the board,” she said Friday. “Moving the county line to get me off the board is rather drastic.”

Asked if that meant she will resist ouster, Murphy replied, “I’m just holding my ground.”

She disagrees with a study by state geologists that a long-time boundary error means she doesn’t live in Richland County, as required.

The study — undertaken at the request of some of the other six board members — says an updated analysis of county borders discovered Murphy’s home should be shifted to neighboring Lexington County. Residency questions have not been raised about other board members, all of whom do not live so near a county border.

Long-accepted county borders in the Chapin area are erroneous and should be moved a few blocks northeast, the study said.

The change would mean Murphy is ineligible to remain in one of three board seats assigned Richland County.

“There is no evidence that I have ever been considered a resident of Lexington County,” Murphy said. “The only way my residency changes is if they attempt to move the county lines in order to remove me.”

Board chairman Robert Gantt wants to refer the dispute to an arbiter for a recommendation on whether to proceed with an attempt to oust Murphy from the post she was elected to in November 2010.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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