August 2, 2014

Inspector General to retire after a year in office

The Governor’s Office confirmed Monday that state Inspector General James Martin will retire from the agency in June.

Inspector General James Martin (File)

“We are working with Jim Martin so that when he retires, we transition into a stronger agency,” spokesman Rob Godfrey said in a statement.

Martin could not be reached Monday, although his office said he would speak to South Carolina Radio Network on Tuesday. The Inspector General’s Office is tasked with investigating “waste, fraud, and abuse” in state agencies. Godfrey said Martin, already retired from the private sector, had only intended to guide the office through its infancy.

The announcement still caught many by surprise, especially as Martin was in attendance at a Cabinet meeting earlier in the day. Governor Nikki Haley had asked his office to review agencies’ security systems following a breach of Medicaid recipients’ personal information two weeks ago.

“Governor Haley said from day one that it’s time to clean up waste, fraud and abuse in state government, and that’s why she created by executive order the first ever Office of Inspector General and why she was excited to sign an Inspector General bill into law – state employees and taxpayers should have a direct line of communication when they see wrong doing in state government,” Godfrey said in the statement provided to South Carolina Radio Network.

Haley created the Inspector General’s office by executive order in March 2011. However, the office was limited by law at the time to her own Cabinet agencies. Her first choice for agency director, George Schroeder, said that was one of several reasons why he left after only two months.

The Governor named Martin as Schroeder’s replacement in June.

The Legislature voted to officially create the Office of Inspector General in January, expanding the watchdog agency’s authority to cover all of state government.