County Admin Tells EMS Employees to Kill Themselves

August 14, 2017, 10:32 am EST | Share:

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (CAROLINE PATRICKIS, WIS-TV) — Some EMS employees in South Carolina are complaining about work conditions to one of their bosses and say they are appalled by the response they have received.

It is hard to believe a top leader of Richland County would tell his employees to commit suicide if they are unhappy, but that is exactly what assistant county administrator for public safety, Kevin Bronson, said on Thursday morning in a room full of about 100 EMS workers.

In an interview with a current employee who was present at the meeting, he recalled Bronson’s message. “So I’m looking through this list with 50 different problems with Richland County EMS, and if it’s really that bad you can just kill yourself.”

The employee says after that, “the room erupted in emotion. People were crying, people were yelling at him because, one, we just lost a deputy to suicide. But two, I don’t think he understands the gravity of the situation and the fact that we are not here for the money. We are here because we love what we do.”

Our attempt to ask Bronson why he said that was unsuccessful. “Mr. Bronson isn’t available. If you want to speak to anyone at administration you need to make an appointment in advance and we are not going to comment on something that was said at an internal employee meeting,” said a staff member.

We also reached out to the Richland County EMS Director, Michael Bird., but we were asked to leave the EMS property by Richland County Deputies.

All of this comes on the heels of our investigation into the dangerous work conditions several whistleblowers brought to our attention earlier this year, including a former employe who drafted an 8-page list Bronson made reference to before telling employees to go kill themselves.

“As a citizen and a resident of the county, I would be scared to call 9-1-1,” he said. “Not because of the people, but if you are having a critical life threat, the odds are you are not going to be alive by the time the get to you.”

They also claimed the department is severely understaffed and is endangering patients lives while the county has done little to nothing to solve the problem.

Bronson later apologized for his comment in an internal email. He also said that he faced disciplinary action, but it is unclear what that penalty was.