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S.C. official resigns after telling EMS workers to kill themselves if unhappy

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A Richland County administrator who apparently told his employees to kill themselves if they were unhappy with their jobs has resigned, CBS affiliate WCSC-TV in Charleston reports.

Kevin Bronson, the assistant county administrator for public safety, submitted his resignation letter Monday morning.

The resignation comes as EMS workers, Columbia firefighters and retired law enforcement officers from across South Carolina joined protested Bronson's comments.

In a meeting with more than 100 county EMS workers, Bronson said an extensive list of employee complaints had been hanging over him.

"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 one person who heard the comments.

In his resignation letter, Bronson said that his comments to EMS workers were "horrible" and "terrible" things to say.

"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 admitted that he hoped the controversy would eventually blow over. "While I wanted to right the ship by staying on board in my job, that is not appropriate," Bronson wrote.

David Arnold, director of Debrief Incorporated, called the comments "absolutely appalling."

"To say that to first responders who deal with death and crisis situations every day was not only insensitive, but it was unprofessional and it was childish," Arnold said.

Richland County Administrator Gerald Seals said in a statement that the incident had been "mischaracterized" by the public, but the comments 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," the statement said.

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