Soon to be former election director for Richland county, Lillian McBride has become infamous for the way she ran her first and last election November 6th. That was when Richland county was recognized for having the worst run election in America on that day. As I stated then, it smelled fishy because the biggest thing on the ballot was not the Presidential election, as South Carolina was never in doubt as to which candidate would get the electoral votes. It was the "penny tax" proposal, or as I called it the Billion Dollar Slush fund. Should we raise the sales tax by 1% to go in to a fund that would bring over a billion dollars in to County Council coffers? When people asked what the money would be used for the most specific thing they would say was 63% would be spent on roads, 29% on buses, and 8% for bike lanes, sidewalks and trails. New buses? Rebuild bridges? Bike lanes where? What exactly do you want the money for?!?! Cue the crickets.... County council tried 2 years ago to get the tax passed and it failed, because too many conservatives voted. So this time it appears they made sure less conservatives voted. First the council spent $50,000 of tax payers money to tell tax payers that they should raise taxes on themselves. That was fishy. But to then fire the man who had run the elections in Richland for 4 decades and replace him with a woman who had never done it, that seemed very odd. Actually Richland County Election Commission didn't just replace him, they created a new position for her and by doing so violated our state constitution . They thought they had created a position for McBride that would make it impossible for anyone to fire her. Why would you do that? Unless you wanted her to screw something up and then not have to lose her job over it. And screw it up she did! By refusing to send the number of voting machines required by state law to predominately republican districts approximately 35,000 fewer people voted in this election. McBride had even received e-mails from poll managers in September after they had seen her machine numbers, telling her she was in violation of the law. She never responded and didn't budge. The tax passed by 6500 votes.
The Attorney General found a loop hole that did give them power to fire her back on Nov 26th. But clearly the Election commission didn't want to do that, so we have watched a dog and pony show for 6 more weeks. Today we learn that McBride, who agreed to resign from her job effective this Friday with Richland County Election Commission, will get a new one...with Richland County Election Commission. She will become the Deputy Director of Richland County Elections, overseeing voter registration and absentee balloting. Wow! She ran either the most inept or most corrupt election in any of our lifetimes and she still gets to work in elections. It doesn't matter how good you were at your old job, if they promote you and you blow up the company, you're fired. Any future election that has Lillian McBride involved in any way will be looked at as tainted.
And while some media is trying to soften the insult of McBride continuing to help run Richland County Elections by saying the $74,600 a year position is a pay cut from her 2012 salary of $89,124 a year, it's in fact a hefty raise from her 2011 salary of $66,429. Very few people are making 12k more in 2013 than they did in 2011, and I bet none of them had the kind of job results McBride did in 2012. And in her new job description, that the Election Commission is creating again just for her, McBride will be responsible for...pretty much the same thing she was in 2011.
The people of Richland County are being abused by a power hungry county council working in cahoots with an untouchable election commission, which is why the idea of launching Birch County is sounding better and better to it's citizens. I however would prefer the citizens to stay and fight. Make sure every official who had anything to do with allowing this debacle be replaced when their election comes up.