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CHANGES TO FOOD STAMP PROGRAM RAISING COSTLY QUESTIONS

S.C. Department of Social Services (SCDSS) director Lillian Koller left a royal mess at the Hawai’i Department of Human Services – the agency she ran from 2003 until 2011 (when Gov. Nikki Haley hired her to fill the same position in the Palmetto State).

In fact Koller was slapped with a federal lawsuit over tardy food stamp distribution to needy families.

Is history repeating itself? Multiple sources at SCDSS tell FITS that Koller is once again facing “managerial difficulties” – and that food stamps are involved.

Koller – who oversees a $2.2 billion agency – is reportedly requiring employees who run the state’s federal food stamp network (a.k.a. the so-called “Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program”) to assume responsibility for duties associated with another welfare giveaway, the so-called “Family Independence Program” (FIP).

FIP is a federal program that provides “temporary cash assistance for low-income families with minor children and pregnant women.” Funds made available by the program “pay for living expenses such as rent, heat, utilities, clothing, food and personal care items.”

Obviously we don’t mind executive branch leaders forcing government bureaucrats to earn their exorbitant paychecks (and benefits), but SCDSS sources tell FITS that workers have not been adequately trained to handle these new directives – which has led to costly inefficiencies and delays.

Is Koller’s move going to save money (well, assuming South Carolina had a taxpayer rebate fund that would make savings real)?

No.

For starters, Koller has dramatically expanded the upper level bureaucracy at SCDSS (creating as many as eight new district directors). She’s also spending millions of dollars each year on consultants to dream up new programs.

“Her direction changes daily at a huge cost to this state,” one SCDSS source tells FITS.

In fact, we’re told that Koller’s plan to “restructure” food stamp distribution has been beset by multiple delays and staffing shortages.

In hiring Koller, Haley referred to her as “the best person that we could find” as well as “someone who has been honored with award after award for achievements in getting results for families and children and making government more transparent and accountable.”

Is she living up to that advance billing?

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