Official on Worker Complaints: 'Kill Yourself or Leave'

South Carolina administrator Kevin Bronson resigns after remarks to county EMS workers
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2017 10:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – A recent meeting of county emergency medical services workers in South Carolina ended in tears—and, on Monday, with the resignation of an official who spoke at that meeting and mentioned suicide as an option if they didn't like the way things were on the job. Per WSOC-TV and WIS, about 100 Richland County EMS workers had assembled to register complaints about work conditions, and Assistant County Administrator Kevin Bronson apparently wasn't having any of their grievances. "So I'm looking through this list with 50 different problems, and if it's really that bad you can just kill yourself or leave," Bronson reportedly said, according to one of the people who was in the room. One employee tells WSOC that the room "erupted in emotion," with people "crying" and "yelling," partly because a deputy on staff had recently been lost to suicide.

After the meeting, the EMS workers banded together with other EMS workers across the state, as well as local firefighters and retired law enforcement members, to protest Bronson's words. Per WIS, the head of an EMS crisis management group called Bronson's remarks "absolutely appalling," "insensitive," "unprofessional," and "childish," especially to a group of workers "who deal with death and crisis situations every day." Per Quorum Columbia, Bronson tried to apologize Friday in an email, noting he'd lost someone close to him to suicide, but he submitted his resignation Monday, acknowledging the "horrible and terrible thing" he'd said. Meanwhile, an ex-paramedic tells WACH he's talking with County Council members to try and improve conditions for the "overworked" and "underpaid" EMS employees. (A woman who texted her boyfriend to kill himself just got 15 months in jail.)

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