Beaufort County schools superintendent Jeff Moss sold his Beaufort home on the first day of the school year, according to county property records, but says he plans to continue "working in Beaufort County" for years to come.
Moss, who refused to speak to a reporter about the sale or whether he has been applying for jobs outside the school district, instead sent an emailed statement through district spokesman Jim Foster:
“I plan on living and working in Beaufort County for many years. I’ve sold my house, and I’m currently residing in the county and looking for another house.”
Records show Moss’ Beaufort home sold Aug. 17 for $530,000. He bought the home for $439,000 in July 2013 when he started working for the district. His contract with the school board required him to establish a residence within the district by January 2014, but does not outline any residency requirement beyond that.
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Real estate websites list the property for sale as far back as April 2016, the same month Moss received notice from the S.C. Ethics Commission of a scheduled hearing to determine if he had violated state ethics laws in the hiring of his wife for a high-paying, district-level position in 2015. Moss was fined $2,500 after admitting “inadvertent and unintentional” guilt to two of the three charges stemming from the allegations of nepotism. The commission chose “not to pursue” the third charge.
His wife’s hiring was first reported in September 2015 and since then the Beaufort County Board of Education has been criticized for its handling of the issue, which has continued to divide the board.
A majority of board members have regularly aligned themselves with Moss throughout the past two years. One member on the minority bloc, JoAnn Orischak, called for Moss to voluntarily resign earlier this month, prompting the rest of the board to issue a statement of regret in response.
In 2014, a year after Moss was hired on a five-year contract, the board chose to extend his contract through 2020.
Moss’ contract can be terminated by:
▪ “mutual agreement of the parties,” in which a severance agreement is likely negotiated between the board and Moss;
▪ disability of the superintendent;
▪ “discharge for just cause,” which is based on conduct considered “seriously prejudicial to the district” or “constitutes neglect of duty, incompetence or unprofessional conduct,”;
▪ unilateral termination, which requires a seven board member vote and would result in Moss’ being entitled to severance pay of twelve months’ salary or the balance due on his contract, whichever is less;
▪ death of the superintendent.