Denmark Tech president resigns amid probe

2011-06-22T05:30:00Z Denmark Tech president resigns amid probeBy DIONNE GLEATON, T&D Staff Writer The Times and Democrat

DENMARK - The president of Denmark Technical College resigned Tuesday after less than a year and a half on the job.

Dr. Michael Townsend Sr. offered his resignation, effective immediately, during a special called meeting of the DTC Area Commission.

Following a closed, executive session that lasted about an hour, the commission unanimously voted to accept his resignation.

The State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education is currently probing the use of state purchasing cards at Denmark Tech, but Townsend says his decision to step down had nothing to do with that. He said he is simply pursuing another opportunity.

DTC Area Commission Chairman James Hayes told Townsend his service would not be forgotten.

"We certainly have enjoyed working with you here at this institution. I'm sure you're not going to forget about us. We're not going to forget about you," Hayes told him. "We certainly want to wish you well in your future endeavor.

"If you need help in any way, we'd be more than happy to do that."

None of the other commissioners had any further comment when asked by Hayes.

"It's been a great learning experience. I'm working with an outstanding area commission," Townsend said. He also recognized his executive team members for their efforts.

"I truly appreciate your time. I know that great things will continue to happen at Denmark," he said.

Townsend said later that, "There was another opportunity that I've been looking at. This is an opportunity that I had to go for." He said the probe had "nothing to do" with his decision to leave.

The State Tech Board did an initial review of DTC's purchasing card usage in March. The review found that $7,542.53 in purchases made between July 2010 and February 2011 were not adequately documented. Also, the review found $14,437 in unallowable purchases were made with the cards, including meals for staff, gasoline and gift cards.

The DTC Area Commission requested the state board to do the more in-depth review that is currently in progress. Mandy Kibler, State Tech vice president for finance, said she hopes to make a report available to the press in about a week.

Townsend said his administration worked closely with the State Tech Board to make sure any irregularities were corrected.

"We've done that as super partners. There are good people in our area. We have great students, and the biggest goal was to promote not only diversity, but also partnerships," he said. "We don't get the tax support from our serving counties. ... We should try to support our technical colleges."

Hayes would not comment on whether the purchasing card probe had anything to do with Townsend's resignation.

"I wouldn't want to go into all of that. I would just say that he just wants to move on. And there's an ongoing investigation surrounding those things at this point. But he decided it was best for him to move on," Hayes said.

Townsend had replaced former President John Waddell, who was fired by commissioners in August 2009.

"We just need to find the right person for the job. At this point, it's an ongoing effort but it's going to happen," Hayes said. "We want nothing but prosperity for this college and its students, and we're going to make sure that happens."

Orangeburg resident Delores Frazier, a 1967 DTC graduate, said she was delighted at Townsend's resignation. She cited the State Tech Board's financial review as the reason.

"I welcome Dr. Townsend's resignation wholeheartedly. There is no peace for the wicked," Frazier said.

Following the executive session Tuesday, the commission voted to offer the position of interim president to former DTC President Dr. Joanne Boyd-Scotland. Commissioner Peggy Faust voted against the appointment. The commission also authorized Hayes to begin the presidential search. The commission plans to meet with Boyd-Scotland on Friday.

Contact the writer: dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5534.

Copyright 2014 The Times and Democrat. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. equal2
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    equal2 - June 23, 2011 11:00 am
    I always found this saying to be true. "Wherever you go there you are." Whatever opportunity that was found by DR. Townsend, I hope you deal with this opportunity to learn from this first.
    We now need leadership with character. The student needs to see that that education is not just about degrees and academics,but morals and values. Half of them know about stealing and being con artist. T hey have seen Presidents change like most of their grades have been.
    This is a wake up call.


  2. equal2
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    equal2 - June 23, 2011 10:40 am
    In every area of leadership their are challenges. The first step of integrity is to be real with yourself. All of us know our struggles,weakness or strengths. No man is an island. Pride comes before a fall. It takes some people a lifetime to learn that. The question remains now. What about the students? We need leadership with integrity. Somebody to be an example beyond just the degrees,the titles and prestige. The Students need real men and women as role models.
    Where are morals being taught?
  3. callmefine69
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    callmefine69 - June 23, 2011 6:18 am
    @ beach, u can say something negative about Avis, but lets put our money where our mouth is. I finished 2 programs at Tech in 3 years. Nearly everytime I was on campus, that lady was there from beginning to the end of day. Avis, fear not, u have no worries. If Avis is next its because she wont stand for the bull that the rest of them stand for. IN MY CHEERLEADER VOICE:................AVIS, AVIS, AVIS, AVIS, AVIS!!@ Beach, kick rocks!!!
  4. scstaterocks11
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    scstaterocks11 - June 23, 2011 6:12 am
    @ EveryBodyKnows, I agree with you. Somebody else was involved with the stealing out there. I heard that Mr. Wright tried to get this issue brought to the light a long time ago but Hayes and Faust tried to cover it up. I bet he was spending money on them too. Its a shame this poor little school got to suffer because of thieves like this. They need to load a bus and get rid of a whole lot of people, not just Townsend.
  5. scstaterocks11
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    scstaterocks11 - June 23, 2011 6:08 am
    LOL! This is too funny. How can u say something negative about Avis. U can tell whoever that is must be jealous that Avis is the most liked person on campus. @ Beach and @ Again, yall must be employees with made up jobs with no real duties. I bet yall just scared b/c yall no Boyd-Scotland is gonna clean house and since yall aint got no real job, yall got to go. Dont be scared now. lol. Thats what yall get for jumping on the Townsend bandwagon. He can steal money but yall want to down Avis.
  6. RoseofSC
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    RoseofSC - June 22, 2011 5:29 pm
    If there's half the bickering, backstabbing, fraud, and stealing going on there -- what's the education like? Judging by some of these posters' comments and lack of (even close to) correct grammar, perhaps I can see my own answer.
  7. Sensible
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    Sensible - June 22, 2011 2:36 pm
    @ Beach... I have to say you are way off base. Avis is one of the best if not the best employee there. I don't know of any other employee there that gives more time to assist students. She is a valuable asset, and her presence would be sorely missed. Please check with the students, and staff before you start posting about people!!!!!
  8. EveryBodyKnows
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    EveryBodyKnows - June 22, 2011 1:55 pm
    Like Delroes said in the open Board meeting last week, Waddell was a serious person and wasn't standing for stuff from Hayes. He was real good! And what's up with Faust vote against Boyd? Faust don't like Boyd cause she couldn't recruit and Boyd forced her out. Leave Boyd alone. She might have to tell state tech to ask Faust/Hayes to step down.Faust will be new chair soon and would make Boyd life bad bringing up old mean stuff. Go Girls!
  9. Hannibal
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    Hannibal - June 22, 2011 1:55 pm
    I'm not surprised that he's resigned,he should never have been hired! Bringing Boyd Scotland back isn't smart either didn't she get run off for being nasty and a dictator? Guess all of her cronies will get their jobs back now. Hope they look for a new president real soon and the she is just temporary!!
  10. EveryBodyKnows
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    EveryBodyKnows - June 22, 2011 1:51 pm
    Good choice. Boyd or Wadell would be good. Both very good presidents. Hayes know that he was just mad at Wadell for stopping him on travel stuff and other hidden problems. Fired man ILLEGALLY and after June 30 in July of new year. That man should have sued. If he was SCSU grad other than nice USC yall would be in trouble. Boyd and Wadell brought money in. Yall know what happened. They just mad at him b/c he was friends with Sanfraud and other Beaufort Repub. But he got lots of good stuff passed.
  11. EveryBodyKnows
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    EveryBodyKnows - June 22, 2011 1:47 pm
    I'm a DTC alum and way to go Delores! Yeah, leave without a job...you can fool some of...just go to the Comptroller General's website and check his spending-hotels in Cola & O'burg, tires, gift cards to Hayes & Faust. Yeah, we know. That ain't the half of it. What about the $ BIG CHECK Hayes & Faust approved for Townsend to rent young legislator's house? Oops, didn't tell Wright & Board; this must be what the part of the probe is about. Who got money and for what? Hayes and Faust must go!!!
  12. scstaterocks11
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    scstaterocks11 - June 22, 2011 1:02 pm
    @ Beach......Avis, is one of the only few people out dey who know what they doing. Sounds to me like u jealous. I attended denmark tech for a year and i no for a fact that this lady work hard. Y of all people would her name be called. Avis, if u reading this, i hope u aint paying that person no attention who posted the above comment.
  13. beach
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    beach - June 22, 2011 7:20 am
    Well Avis and her crew is next. I promise you.
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