Murphy faces ouster from Lexington-Richland 5 school board

tflach@thestate.comMarch 18, 2013 

Kim Murphy

— Kim Murphy faces immediate ouster as a Lexington-Richland 5 school board member after a review made public Monday set the stage for her removal for nonresidency in Richland County.

Board members will discuss what to do tonight after she challenges the recommendation for ouster from the post to which she was elected in November 2010.

Murphy warned she will not go quietly. “Bullies will be bullies, even to the point of trying to steal an election,” she said, a complaint that board chairman Robert Gantt disputed.

Her fate is up to the other six board members with whom she is often at odds in overseeing classrooms for 16,000 pupils in Chapin, Irmo, Dutch Fork, Harbison and St. Andrews that are among the best in South Carolina.

“I think this is exactly what it meant by the term ‘show trial,’” said Todd Kincannon, Murphy’s lawyer.

Gantt promised Murphy fair consideration even though “this community and board have been bullied over two years by her.”

A review by retired circuit Judge G. Thomas Cooper of Camden agreed with state geographers that her home is just inside Lexington County, not Richland County as commonly thought.

Cooper, appointed in January by the board as an advisor, recommended her removal instead of allowing her to serve the remaining 18 months in her four-year term due to the misunderstanding about the border.

Political foes raised questions last fall about the location of Murphy’s home in the Chapin area after she lost a legal battle over filling in a creek that stalled renovation of Chapin High for 18 months.

Murphy may be the victim of a mistake by Richland County officials, but that doesn’t enable her to remain in the post, Cooper said in his report.

The residency requirement is mandatory, so she was ineligible from the start for the post won at the ballot, the report said.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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