South Carolina official resigns after reported 'kill yourself or leave' remark

A South Carolina county administrator resigned Monday after he reportedly told dissatisfied employees to “kill yourself or leave.”

Kevin Bronson, an assistant county administrator for Richland County, came under fire for remarks he reportedly made during a staff meeting on Thursday morning, CBS News reported.

Bronson was addressing a group of some 100 Richland County EMS workers regarding a “list of employee complaints” he had received.

“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 said, according to a witness.  

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"The room erupted in emotion,” an employee told WSOCTV. “People were crying. People were yelling at him. One, we just lost a deputy because of suicide. Two, I don't think he understands the gravity of the situation. We're not here for the money; we're here because we love what we do."

Bronson said in his resignation letter that his comments were “horrible.”

"My disrespectful words hurt and offended many people in the Richland County Government, especially the EMS workers, EMS workers across this country and surviving friends and families of loved ones of suicide," Bronson wrote. "I am sorry."     

Bronson also wrote in the letter that while he hoped the controversy would settle down he felt he couldn't remain in his position.

"While I wanted to right the ship by staying on board in my job, that is not appropriate," Bronson wrote. 

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Richland County Administrator Gerald Seals said in a statement to CBS News that Bronson’s comments were “mischaracterized” but “would not be tolerated.”

"On behalf of Richland County, I also apologize for what happened and regret that an employee in the Administrator's Office spoke in such a manner. I am committed to ensuring all County employees know they are valued and respected," Seals said.