Will the real Lillian McBride please stand up?

Will the real Lillian McBride please stand up? Will the real Lillian McBride please stand up? 

Rep. Mia McLeod

Wednesday’s closed-door delegation meeting was not only a sham, but a total waste of our time and yours.   And by unnecessarily dragging this saga on for almost two months, Ms. McBride’s protectors and defenders have made it clear that they are the ones who are actually “throwing her under the bus.”

During our meeting, the delegation chair advised us that the elections director had, in fact, tendered her resignation letter (effective on January 8, 2013).  And although Rep. Rutherford accurately conveyed that information to the media, delegation leaders took issue with the messenger and his timing, promptly advising McBride (only moments later) to deny that she had resigned.  Today, he emailed a letter advising that she now has no intention of doing so.

This is yet another classic example of the Old Guard’s style.  It’s their way, in their time, by their rules. The only problem is those of us who refuse to play by them.  Sadly, even Ms. McBride seems complicit in these senseless and shameful games they play, leaving little doubt as to whether she’s a victim or perpetrator.

Bottom line is…either she tendered her resignation in good faith or never had any intention of actually resigning as her Old Guard advisors stalled for more time to work out one of their infamous “back-room” deals.

And while the majority of our delegation has now publicly expressed “no confidence” in the director’s ability to lead, yesterday’s mishandling of her resignation offers real insight about the challenges those of us who are fighting for accountability face.

For the first time since the Election Day disaster, the news of Director McBride’s impending resignation was late, but still fairly palatable to voters whose frustration and resentment might gradually have been replaced with compassion and empathy. But once again, Ms. McBride and her Old Guard advisors chose to rob the public and the process of the dignity and decency that might have otherwise been partially restored.

So while the Old Guard accuses us of denying her an opportunity to go through this process with dignity, they need look no further than the mirror to see the embattled director’s true “dignity destroyers.”

And although this shouldn’t be about Lillian McBride (personally), she and her defenders, to the dismay and detriment of Richland County voters, have made it personal.  By insulating her from responsibility and culpability, the Old Guard has accomplished the exact opposite of its mission, leaving us frustrated and exasperated with more questions than answers about her character, integrity and competence.

Just this week, the (former) elections commission chair cited in her own resignation letter that she had no confidence in the director’s ability to lead, based on personal observations and the interim investigative report…the same report that delegation leaders told you (voters) we would rely on to take action, so that there would be “no rush to judgment.”  Now here we are more than six weeks later and apparently, not in a rush for anything…especially accountability.

If the Old Guard expended as much energy to help restore the public’s confidence in the county’s electoral process, this nightmare would’ve been over a long time ago. Doing the right thing for the right reasons isn’t hard.  Perhaps they’ll try it one of these days.

What they and Ms. McBride have failed to realize is that dignity, integrity and self-respect should have prompted the Elections Director to resign shortly after Nov. 6th.  Instead, her protectors and defenders have made a mockery of the electoral process, while arrogantly and callously blaming the real victims…Richland County voters.

Obviously, Ms. McBride could not have managed this crisis any worse than her Old Guard advisors have. If their advice and guidance were free, she has obviously gotten her “money’s worth” and then some.

After 23 years of service and an executive leadership position for which they insist she is aptly qualified and capable, it’s ironic that they’ve expressed nothing but confidence in her ability to continue running elections, but “no confidence” in her ability to think, act and speak for herself.

What a “sham” and a disgrace this disaster has been for the voters of Richland County.  Bogus meetings.  Back-room deals.  Broken promises. “Stacking the deck” with Old Guard commissioners.  No accountability.  Fake transparency.

Wasn’t Election Day bad enough?

After almost 2 months, I’m beyond fed up.  Aren’t you?

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