Columbia Star

Richland County honors Doug Strickler

The October 16 Richland County Council meeting began with a presentation honoring Doug Strickler, the late Richland County public defender. Council Member Seth Rose said Strickler fought for the “least among us for 30 years.”

The presentation read Doug Strickler was born in Maryland in 1950 and graduated from the University of South Carolina Law School in 1981. His long career spent as a public defender demonstrated his belief that one’s financial circumstances should have no bearing on that person’s ability to be treated fairly by the South Carolina legal system.

Strickler wrote a manual on South Carolina law specific to the public defender’s office, and his presentation said in part the Richland County public defender’s office, “because of him, was the best public defender’s office in South Carolina.” He was a Civil War history enthusiast, loved crossword puzzles, and enjoyed the Grateful Dead.

During citizen’s input, Fielding Pringle, from the public defender’s office, and Heather Weiss, the Richland County solicitor, spoke in favor of retaining the contract for Offender Management Services, the company responsible for court ordered GPS monitoring. Both attorneys encouraged the council to renew the contract because Offender is doing a good job protecting victims.

During discussions about the night’s agenda, Bill Malinowski asked for an item on the first suggestions by the property distribution management ad hoc committee be removed from the agenda because the meeting supporting the item happened past the time limit allotted to agenda items for council members and the public.

Council chair Joyce Dickerson, after a couple of comments concerning this item, declared she made the decision to include the item on the agenda, due in part to last week’s storm causing some meeting delays, and should the council disagree with her, the “meeting would be adjourned and we can all go home.”

Dalhi Myers explained the information for the agenda items was turned in to the clerk’s office before the deadline, and the only thing not completed was the committee vote on the individual items, which were completed in a Monday meeting. Everyone took a deep breath, and the item was included, discussed, and voted on when it appeared on the agenda.

The item from the property distribution management committee addressed what to do with Richland County owned property left in limbo after the evaporation of Richland Renaissance. The council voted to give the county staff authority to develop an RFQ to bring experts in to analyze the former mall property on Two Notch Road to see if it is suitable for the county’s needs.

Taylor H. Miller was added to the accommodations tax committee, and Lisa Kelly Stewart was added to the East Richland public service commission.

Council Chair Joyce Dickerson, Vice Chair Bill Malinowski, Calvin “Chip” Jackson, Norman Jackson, Gwendolyn Kennedy, Paul Livingston, Yvonne McBride, Dalhi Myers, Greg Pearce, and Seth Rose were present. Jim Manning was absent.

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