CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- A lawsuit has been filed against several Charleston County School District (CCSD) Board of Trustees members and the district over the board’s removal of six members of the CCSD Health Advisory Committee (HAC) last month.
In the lawsuit, the removed committee members allege five CCSD board members — Pamela McKinney, Carlotte Bailey, Keith Grybowski, Ed Kelley, and Leah Whatley — violated the S.C. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and CCSD bylaws in their “illegal purported termination and replacement” of HAC members.
The board voted 5-4 during a Sept. 25 meeting to appoint 12 people –proposed by Kelley — to the 13-person committee despite there being only five open positions. This resulted in several committee members being ousted even though their terms were not expiring.
The lawsuit states that prior to the meeting, an item was placed on the agenda indicating that HAC appointments would be discussed. However, the plaintiffs allege that the candidate slate was instead discussed during a private executive session.
“None of these names or information was published on BoardDocs (the system used by the Board to share information),” the lawsuit states. “These acts violated FOIA, the board’s own policy, and procedures, and the explicit bylaws of the HAC.”
The lawsuit points to the South Carolina Attorney General’s response to requests from lawmakers to investigate whether the board complied with FOIA in which the AG’s office said they do believe a court would likely find that FOIA requirements for convening in executive session were not met.
The HAC members are asking the Court to reinstate them while the legal challenges play out, appoint a liaison to oversee the board’s activities, and find that the board violated FOIA laws and improperly removed the committee members with unexpired terms.
Keith Grybowski declined to comment and News 2 is still awaiting a response from the other four board members named in the lawsuit.