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Fines growing for Clearwater official

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COLUMBIA — An Aiken County woman has been fined $500 so far, with the sum growing $50 for each day that passes without a resolution to her dual positions within the Clearwater Water and Sewer District.

On Wednesday, Christy Coleman said she was still selecting an attorney to help her fight the South Carolina Ethics Commission’s order that she vacate one of the two positions – as a district commissioner and clerk of the water and sewer district.

Since the Ethics Commission’s Sept. 26 order, Coleman said she has not heard from her critics, namely the local legislative delegation that supported State Rep. Roland Smith’s conflict-of-interest legislation.

“Truthfully, I think they don’t know what to do with me,” Coleman said. “What, are they going to get a warrant to lock me up on? I really just think they thought I’d roll over and play dead, and I haven’t.”

The Ethics Commission issued the order against Coleman last month after a hearing attended by Ethics Commission members Phillip Florence Jr., E. Kay Biermann Brohl and J.B. Holeman. One of the members of the three-person Clearwater commission, Terry Overstreet, testified in support of Coleman.

The order says Coleman is violating the conflict-of-interest law that was signed by Gov. Nikki Haley in April barring an individual from holding dual positions within a water district. Coleman was ordered to resign one of the positions by Oct. 15 or else she would face a $50-a-day fine afterward.

In November, Coleman was elected to serve a six-year term on the commission for the district for which she has worked as an administrator since 2000.

Smith, a Warrenville Republican, objected to the dual service and introduced the legislation targeting her. The bill was signed by the governor in April after the support of other members of the Aiken County legislative delegation, who said they had nothing against her personally but shared Smith’s concerns about the potential conflict of interest.

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