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Second board member quits Richland Rec Commission

Richland County Recreation Commission logo
Richland County Recreation Commission logo

A second board member of the embattled Richland County Recreation Commission has resigned, bringing the number of remaining commissioners to five.

Board secretary Weston Furgess Jr. turned in a resignation letter Friday announcing he was stepping down, said David Stringer, human resources director for the commission.

While the commission did not immediately publicize Furgess’ resignation, his nameplate was noticeably absent from the board dais during Monday’s commission meeting.

In the letter dated Nov. 17 and addressed to Gov. Nikki Haley, Furgess said he hopes his decision to resign will help “lift the cloud hanging over the agency and that they will be able to move forward in prayer.”

“My tenure with the agency was uplifting and a great opportunity to serve the citizens of Richland County,” Furgess said in the letter.

Furgess is the second board member to quit in recent weeks since Haley moved to fire the commission’s seven-member board. Members of the board can appeal Haley’s decision to remove them on Nov. 30, though a time or place has not been set.

Haley acted at the urging of local legislators after months of lawsuits alleging sexual harassment by Recreation Commission director James Brown III, who retired last month after he was indicted for misconduct in office.

Commissioner Wilbert Lewis was the first board member to resign, on Nov. 15. Lewis was not one of the five board members that some of state legislators accused of allowing unwarranted pay raises and widespread nepotism at the commission.

Commissioner Thomas Clark also was not asked to quit. Both he and Lewis had been more critical of Brown.

Furgess was among the five board members that 10 state legislators of the Richland County delegation wanted to see go. The other four include board chair J. Marie Green, vice chair Barbara Mickens, George Martin Jr. and Joseph Weeks.

Green said in October she would not seek reappointment and step down when her term ends in February.

Furgess’ appointment was set to expire on Feb. 27, 2020. He had served since Feb. 27, 2010.

The remaining commissioners declined to comment on his resignation on Monday.

Cynthia Roldán: 803-771-8311, @CynthiaRoldan