As many as 70 employees at the scandal-scarred S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) are getting a jump start on the holidays – participating in a two-day taxpayer-funded conference in Charleston, S.C. this weekend.

What’s the conference about?

“The purpose of the meeting (is) to make sure DEW staff are doing their jobs and (unemployment insurance) staff are doing what they are required to do,” one of our sources at the agency says.

Hmmmm  … like doing the bidding of powerful lawmakers?

Government-funded vacations are obviously nothing new for this agency  (click here and here to see what we mean).  Nor is incompetence.  In fact since becoming part of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s cabinet, SCDEW has been one disaster after another – putting the governor’s push for “expanded executive accountability” under an unflattering microscope.

As we’ve reported on numerous previous occasions, one out of every five dollars in unemployment benefits doled out in South Carolina is awarded erroneously – the eighth-highest percentage in the nation.   That’s obviously a huge problem in a state with one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates.  Yet despite a state auditfederal warning and a legislative study attesting to its abysmal performance, SCDEW continues to flaunt its ineptitude – a cost that is being passed on to to South Carolina businesses and taxpayers.

SCDEW’s leadership is also reportedly furious with FITS for our efforts to expose its ongoing corruption and incompetence.

According to an email from one of our moles, “DEW has a rule that employees will NOT forward emails to Fitsnews or they will be fired.”

In fact, our source says that “emails are starting to become a thing of the past with DEW” given how quickly the missives wind up in our possession – and in the possession of lawmakers who are investigating the agency.

“They hate Fits,” one agency employee says, adding that our website has “really upset the general,” referring to SCDEW director General Abraham Turner.

Really?  Well Turner’s chronic mismanagement of this agency – and the hundreds of millions of tax dollars it’s wasting – has “really upset” us.