‘You’re not going to bully me:’ Tension at Florence One board meeting

Pee Dee

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) — There were some tense moments during Thursday’s Florence One Schools board meeting between Superintendent Richard O’Malley and board member Elder Alexis D. Pipkins, Senior.

An apparent disagreement started Thursday evening as O’Malley and Pipkins went back and forth over whether or not Pipkins followed procedure with undergoing a COVID-19 screening upon entering the meeting.

“I don’t like you insinuating that I didn’t complete and sign the form,” Pipkins said at O’Malley.

“Did you or did you not?” O’Malley then asked.

Pipkens responded by saying, “Did I? Did I have to come in the building? Are you incompetent? Yes,” from across the room.

The exchange went on, during which our cameras were rolling.

At one point, the superintendent said, “You’re not going to bully me, sir.”

Pipkins then referred to him as ‘Little Napoleon.”

An executive session was held during Thursday’s meeting to evaluate the superintendent’s performance over the past school year.

The board recommended an ‘extremely effective’ evaluation for O’Malley, along with a one year contract extension through the 2022-23 school year and a one time bonus of $15,000. He was praised for his leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic and various accomplishments made.

The board passed that, but not before hearing opposition from Pipkins

Pipkins expressed his ‘continued vote of no confidence’ and said he was concerned about certain things not being addressed, especially involving the African American community in the district.

Board member Trisha Caulder voiced her support for O’Malley after Pipkins spoke.

News13 reached out to the superintendent and Pipkins Friday for comment. O’Malley did not wish to provide one and Pipkins has not responded.

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