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Judge orders SC disabilities dept. to pause search for new director

A hearing regarding an injunction motion that Poole filed is scheduled to take place in a...
A hearing regarding an injunction motion that Poole filed is scheduled to take place in a Richland County courtroom in August.(Live 5)
Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 12:47 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The agency that runs the Coastal Regional Center in Summerville must pause its search for a new permanent state director.

Judge L. Casey Manning in Columbia issued an order blocking the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs “from taking any action with regard to the position.”

The order says that the department and its commission cannot fill the state director job or conduct any related interviews at this time.

This order comes after Mary Poole, who previously held the state director position, was fired in February. Poole has since filed a lawsuit against the department, several of its commissioners, and the agency’s former internal audit director.

A hearing regarding an injunction motion that Poole filed is scheduled to take place in a Richland County courtroom in August.

Shortly after Poole was fired, the majority of the commission accused Poole of mishandling an executive-level sexual harassment matter, but Poole later stated that she “handled the matter appropriately” and did not expect to be terminated.

Documents that were released in May through a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that a handful of commissioners were given access to a plan that discussed ways to remove Poole from her position.

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