South Carolina House members have voted to combine two cabinet agencies in another effort to restructure state goverment.
Governor Nikki Haley and several lawmakers want to merge the agency that runs the state’s prisons with one that looks after the inmates once they are released. The House appoved a bill Wednesday by an 81-21 vote to combine the state Corrections Department with the Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services (PPP).
Supporters say it will save money by eliminating the administrative staff at PPP. Rep. Bakari Sellers (D-Bamberg), who sponsored the bill, said it could save more than $5 million.
However, opponents disputed that number, claiming any savings would be lost in the coming years. Rep. Todd Rutherford (D-Richland) said he highly doubted the estimated savings would be realized, since both departments are already overworked.
Do the math. Read it and go ask… how we are going to save $5.8 million, when (the) spreadsheet suggests that’s not true? And, if that’s not true, how much are we going to save, and how are we going to do it?
The bill would also shrink Gov. Haley’s Cabinet by removing PPP Director Kela Thomas, who would lose her seat once the agency shifted under the Corrections Department’s control. Some Democrats expressed concern about that move, as well, since Thomas is the only African-American appointed by Haley to her Cabinet.