South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley says she wants to make her branch of government more accountable in order to avoid waste and abuse.
As a way to accomplish that, she issued an executive order Friday that creates the Office of Inspector General. The Inspector General would have the power to audit and sift through the budgets of Cabinet-level agencies.
Haley said there have been plenty of cases where state money was abused.
We found a single doctor that represented 40 percent of the (Medicaid) claims we paid for impacted earwax removal. In (the Department of Social Services) a few years ago, the CFO of the Department was arrested for embezzling more than $5 million from that agency.
Haley appointed George Schroeder to the position. Schroeder held a similar job in the Legislative Audit Council for 33 years before retiring last year. The LAC conducts government investigations at the Legislature’s request when an issue needs attention. Schroeder said he was looking forward to his new job.
This will be the opportunity… to see the problems before they become big problems, to solve the big problems immediately, rather than let them fester and get bigger and bigger.
Haley said state offices need to be held accountable.
All of my agency heads want this. They want to know that they’re running the best agencies. They don’t want theses things happening under their watch. So, this is actually protection for my Cabinet directors, as well.
She said the South Carolina Constitution gives her the power to investigate Cabinet agencies, but added she would like the Legislature to give the Inspector General the power to look into other government groups as well, such as the Department of Transportation and the State Ports Authority.
Haley did not say how much the office would cost, but indicated it would be treated the same as a low-level Cabinet agency.