Beaufort News

School board to take no action over Moss’ ethics violations

Beaufort County School District superintendent Jeff Moss
Beaufort County School District superintendent Jeff Moss File photo

The Beaufort County school board will do nothing in response to superintendent Jeff Moss admitting to two ethics violations and being publicly reprimanded and fined this week over the hiring of his wife, it was announced Friday.

At an already-scheduled work session, the board went into a closed-door session to review and discuss the plea deal signed Tuesday by the South Carolina Ethics Commission and Moss, board chairwoman Mary Cordray said. After returning to the public meeting, she read the statement that the board determined it would not take any further action as a result of the consent order.

“The board has made its decision and will move forward in the best interests of the district and the students of Beaufort County,” she said.

The board met in executive session for four hours Friday morning.

The day before, two board members — Michael Rivers and David Striebinger — had said they thought Moss’ ethics violations were grounds for termination and several others said they at least warranted further discussion. Cordray did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.

The closed session was originally scheduled for 5 p.m., but the board voted at the start of its work session to hold the discussion first. It then moved on to the rest of the agenda, which included updates on diversity, transportation, salaries and other issues.

Tuesday’s consent order described Moss’ two ethics violations as “inadvertent” and “unintentional.” The superintendent admitted to unknowingly breaking state ethics laws in signing his wife’s consulting contract last year and presenting her as a job candidate to the school board.

The commission agreed not to pursue a third ethics charge, altering the district’s nepotism rule around the same time as Darlene Moss applied for the director of innovation job, which paid about $90,000 per year.

The commission said at a minimum, the rule change had the “appearance of impropriety,” but it was unclear whether the old rule would have prevented Darlene Moss’ hire.

Rebecca Lurye: 843-706-8155, @IPBG_Rebecca