Second Richland Recreation Commissioner Resigns

Another Recreation Commission member calls it quits,

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A second member of the Richland County Recreation Commission has resigned in advance of a hearing with Gov. Nikki Haley.

At a meeting of the commission Monday night, the board's human resources officer announced that Weston Furgess Jr. has stepped down, and that his resignation was effective last Friday. Furgess had been on the commission since 2010, and his current term wasn't supposed to be up until 2020.

Just last week, another board member, Wilbert Lewis, announced he would give up his post.

The seven member panel has been under scrutiny for months over its handing of personnel issues, including involving the agency's former executive director, James Brown III. Earlier this month, Gov. Haley issued three charges against the group, saying they failed to investigate harassment, nepotism, and intimidation claims made against the agency.

Haley will have a hearing for the board members on November 30 to hear their response to those charges. It will be overseen by a three-person panel, and depending on how the hearing goes, the board members could be fired. 

If any member doesn't not show up, Haley said she will automatically remove that person from office.

Last month, a majority of Richland County's state senators and representatives asked Haley to remove five  members of the board.

Brown III retired from the commission last month, days after he was indicted on a misconduct in office charge and was arrested on for allegedly intimidating a witness.

Meanwhile it was business as usual for the remaining five members of the board.

On Monday the agency's yearly audit was presented by Burkett Burkett & Burkett.

There was no mention of Furgess' resignation, but two representatives from the county were present. The county will begin their own independent audit of the commission in the coming weeks.

None of the board members or members of the agency's administration would comment.

The recreation commission is responsible for managing the parks and recreation programs throughout the county. Since March, five civil lawsuits have been filed against the commission, Brown, members of the board and other employees.


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