Waccamaw EOC could lose funding

A community assistance program which serves thousands of people in Horry, Georgetown and Williamsburg Counties could lose critical funding because of misconduct by its board.

A recent compliance report of the Waccamaw Economic Opportunity Council shows its board of directors isn't meeting its bylaws and certain requirements set by the state.

In a letter dated March 26, the SC Office of Economic Opportunity, which is under the purview of the governor's office, determined Waccamaw EOC to be high-risk because of compliance issues.

The state said certain board members abused their powers, refused to hand over e-mails as part of an audit review and didn't handle employee grievances in a proper manner.

As a result, the state halted any additional grant money to the EOC until a corrective action could take place.

In addition to its original grievances, the state said the special election of a board member last week is questionable, and they said the board did not properly advertise for the position.

The board of directors at a meeting Tuesday night heard from angry residents who feared certain programs may be cut because of actions of the board.

"I expect you to think for the poor people. I expect you to make sure their needs are being met," yelled one man during the meeting.

Others came to express fear over losing Head Start programs, a program designed to help children.

"If your mind is not with these little kids, I don't know what your mind is on," a teacher at Head Start told the board.

After close to an hour of passionate public comment, the board of directors went into executive session and came out with a plan to come into compliance.

Their lawyer said the board wants to come into compliance and will work with the state to work toward that. The lawyer said she will work on coming up with the plan which the state has requested by April 16.

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