In the pantheon of utterly useless government bureaucracies in the Palmetto State, the S.C. Commission on Higher Education occupies a very special place.

A “smiley face” place.

How so?

As far as we can tell, this “tits on a bull” commission approves pretty much any program/ expansion request that our state’s ever-expanding network of government-funded colleges and universities proposes. Which is why South Carolina has 33 state-supported institutions of higher learning occupying 80 different campuses (some of which share the same friggin’ parking lot). And why said system is sucking up such a disproportionately large percentage of our state budget (more than 18 percent compared to the national average of around 10 percent).

Seriously … Innovista, anybody?

That $300 million hole in the ground is proof positive of the impotence of this “Yes Agency.”

Anyway, the rubber stamp of status quo accommodation – which S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley has been thumping louder than ever – was recently passed from one higher educrat to the next.

Julie Carullo

With little fanfare the CHE – which receives $120 million in the state budget to suckle at the higher educrat teat – recently named its former lobbyist, Julie Carullo (left), as “acting executive director” of the agency.

And while we’re reliably informed that Carullo has excellent taste in shoes (and a pair of stems that aren’t hesitant about showing off her selections), what other qualifications did Holy Rolling CHE Chairman Ken Wingate have in mind when he tapped her for this post?

We’re not sure … but there are plenty of people who are unhappy about the choice.

She’s the Mitt Romney of SC higher ed – whichever way the wind blows, she goes,” one source tells FITS, adding that “I find it interesting that another state agency head has been appointed with no news, no notice of a real search, and zero transparency.”

Well … there was a press release.

Assuming this was a position that mattered we’d be upset too. Unfortunately, it’s not. It’s a $150,000 a year (not counting benefits) rubber stamp – although it’s a nice salary bump for Carullo, who made $100,907 (again, not counting benefits) in her previous job as a deputy rubber stamp.

Of course her “deputy rubber stamp” job will now require filling, too …

Sheesh …

We’re used to South Carolina state government flushing our tax dollars down the drain. We’re also used to people standing around with not-so-bright looks on their faces watching it happen.

Maybe Julie Carullo and her nice stems will prove us wrong, but our guess is that the beat will go on … and on … and on … and on …