After a 17-month search, the board for South Carolina’s health and environmental agency has picked a new director — one of their own.
Former Beaufort Memorial Hospital president Rick Toomey has served on the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s governing board since he was nominated by Gov. Henry McMaster in February. Board members say they have not been able to find a candidate after dozens of interviews since previous director Katherine Heigel stepped down last year
Acting Director David Wilson has led the agency on a temporary basis for the past year, but he is planning to retire at the end of December.
“It’s a difficult thing to replace our current director,” fellow boardmember Jim Creel, Jr., said in his nominating motion. “He’s done a tremendous job. But, considering that his continuation isn’t an option, I believe that Rick would be an excellent candidate for that.”
Toomey’s recommendation came after the board met in a closed-door executive session on Wednesday. The nomination must also be approved by Gov Henry McMaster and the state Senate. McMaster offered his backing not long after the vote.
“The Department of Health and Environmental Control Board conducted a professional, thorough, and deliberate search for their next director that produced the best candidate for the job,” the governor said in a statement.
Toomey previously led Beaufort Memorial Hospital from 2007 until 2016. While his prior career has been largely health-focused, it’s not clear if Toomey has much environmental experience outside of his ten months on the board. He will earn the minimum $178,000 salary as director.