Richland County lawyers are reviewing the legality of a County Councilman’s proposal to punish council members and staff who leak confidential items and information discussed in closed-door meetings.
Councilman Norman Jackson, who represents District 11 in Lower Richland, proposed a motion to “stop this unethical behavior of certain council members leaking confidential information to the media.” His motion also includes that “any staff member caught misrepresenting the agency or the administrator shall be fired immediately.”
The practice of leaking information to the public “damages the integrity” of the council, Jackson wrote in his motion.
Last month, The State newspaper obtained a copy of a proposed no-bid contract, to be discussed by council in a session closed to the public, that would have paid nearly $1 million to a consulting firm led by retired Maj. Gen. Abraham Turner to coordinate the distribution of flood relief items to the Lower Richland area. The executive director of the operation would have been paid $90 an hour for as much as $194,000 over 22 weeks.
The contract was not publicized by the county, but details were published online by The State prior to council’s closed-door discussion. Council ultimately decided not to hire Turner’s consulting group.
Council recently directed its legal department to review Jackson’s motion and report back to its Rules and Appointments Committee.
Reach Ellis at (803) 771-8307.