By Ashley Barker
Published Feb. 5, 2014
Gov. Nikki Haley has added to the criticism of Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who had apologized for being unprepared for last week’s winter storm that left hundreds of commuters stranded in their cars.
Haley, who was in Charleston on Tuesday for a speech to members of the Historic Rotary Club of Charleston, said her brother was stuck on an interstate in Atlanta for 27 hours because of the snow and ice.
“While I was trying to fix South Carolina, I was furious at Georgia for not taking care of that,” she said.
“When you go through a storm, whether it’s a hurricane or winter storm, our team stands ready,” Haley said. “I am very proud of team South Carolina and the way they handled the storm.”
Haley added that issues related to the Ravenel Bridge, which froze over and was closed because of falling ice, was a “lesson learned.”
Governor proud of reform measures
Haley said reforming S.C. government and getting rid of the “big, green, ugly monster” — a reference to the removal of the Budget Control Board — is something none of her predecessors could accomplish.
While in Charleston, Haley explained why she had pushed to create a Department of Administration and dispense with the Budget Control Board.
“The way South Carolina has functioned in the past, every agency had their own human resources, every agency had their own IT services, every agency handled all their back offices separately and none of them had the ability to talk to each other,” Haley said.
She signed bill S-22, known as the S.C. Restructuring Act of 2014, into law on Jan. 27. It will create a Department of Administration — overseen by a governor appointee — that will manage the state’s back-office functions, such as human resources, technology, real estate and facilities, procurement, budget development and fleet management.
“We got rid of the big, green, ugly monster, which I call the Budget Control Board, which had a thousand employees that funneled millions of dollars into that agency, and we never saw where it went,” Haley said.
Picking a college president
Haley said picking the next president for the College of Charleston is something she’ll leave up to its board of trustees.
“I hope they find somebody that will help me recruit businesses, that will help make sure our students stay in South Carolina and that will keep our schools strong,” Haley said, adding that the CoC “is a true gem in South Carolina that we want to make sure is healthy and strong.”
George Benson announced last August that he will step down as president and return to the faculty on June 30. Haley said, so far, no one has contacted her about the search.
“What I’ve found is, whether it’s Clemson or the College of Charleston or any of the others, they do really extensive searches, and they’re really smart about it. So I do trust the board to make those decisions,” she said.
More than 100 applications were submitted for the presidency, according to board Chairman Greg Padgett. He said the next president could be announced as early as March.
Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.