In a three-page document, explaining an investigation and their findings, the State Ethics Commission of South Carolina sets a hearing for Beaufort County schools Superintendent Jeff Moss.
The Ethics Commission finds “probable cause” for the formal hearing, and will hear allegations on three counts; two counts are of use of official office to obtain an economic interest for a family member. Those allegations are that Moss used his position as Superintendent to sign a consulting contract between his wife and the Beaufort County School District on or about December 5, 2014, and that he used his position as Superintendent to change the District’s Administrative Rule regarding nepotism in a change that allowed his wife to be hired to a position in the District office in or around September 2015. The third count which will be heard is participation in a governmental decision affecting an economic interest, in that allegation that Moss participated in a governmental decision in which an immediate family member, his wife, had an economic interest, by presenting her to the Board of Education as a candidate for hiring during the Executive Session of a Board meeting on September 1, 2015.
The citizen who filed the complaint is a Beaufort County resident and Beaufort County schools graduate, Kimberly Morgan. Morgan was present at the Board’s special meeting on September 21, 2015, when the Board voted to rewrite its nepotism policy. Morgan tells NEWS 3 she received the hearing notice over the weekend, by certified mail on Saturday. She will be present at the upcoming hearing.
She was compelled to file the complaint, she says, for lack of satisfaction in the Board’s response to citizens’ concerns on the night of the meeting. She calls the process of Moss’s wife’s hiring and rewritten rules “questionable,” and was told by the Ethics Commission when they responded to her filed complaint, that they would investigate and then would hold the hearing once they found probable cause.
Moss will have the right to be presented and to call witnesses during the hearing set for 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 17, 2016, in Columbia. The meeting will not be open to the public, unless Moss requests it.
The Beaufort County School District has released this statement from Moss: “I’m going to cooperate fully with the Ethics Commission, and I’m confident that all of my actions as Superintendent have been lawful, ethical and in the best interests of children. What’s best for students is the foundation of every decision I make.”
Read the hearing notice here: Moss Hearing