For the third time this year, a top bureaucrat at S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s embattled “workforce” agency has resigned abruptly.

Laura Robinson, an assistant executive director at the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW), stepped down from her post late Friday.  Robinson’s resignation came one week after FITS exclusively reported that an error in assessing unemployment insurance rates would cost South Carolina businesses an additional $9 million this coming year (over and above existing unemployment insurance costs – which were supposed to be provided to Palmetto State businesses months ago).

Robinson is in charge of managing unemployment insurance decisions at the agency – which has been one of the most poorly managed agencies in state government since Haley appointed retired Army General Abraham Turner to run it last September.

According to our sources within Haley’s administration, Robinson “resigned Friday effective immediately.”

“This is sudden and details are sketchy,” our source added.

Robinson sent SCDEW employees an email after 5:00 p.m. on Friday informing them of her resignation and thanking them for their service.  She made $108,538 annually (not counting benefits) – but was only at the agency for approximately nine months.

Here’s Robinson’s bio …

So … what prompted her resignation?  The problems with the state’s unemployment insurance system?  Or something else?

In April another top SCDEW staffer, Nicholas Anderson, resigned his post abruptly after just six months at the agency.

Anderson’s resignation came as FITS was following up on a scathing audit of the agency with an exclusive new report highlighting additional waste and duplication.

Meanwhile another top staffer at the agency, David Salley, was fired over the summer -allegedly for refusing to approve an improper disbursement of unemployment benefits to a politically connected recipient.

SCDEW has been one disaster after another since Haley took office.  According to federal statistics, one out of every five dollars in unemployment benefits doled out by the agency is awarded erroneously – the eighth-highest percentage in the nation.  Not only that, South Carolinians who use the agency’s reemployment services take an average of 26.5 weeks to get off of the public dole.  Those who do not use SCDEW took only 22.3 weeks to find gainful employment.

How have the agency’s leaders gone about “addressing” these issues?  With taxpayer-funded golf … and sunshine.  Hell … they took another glorified vacation over the long Thanksgiving weekend.

The cost of this incompetence has been astronomical.

South Carolina’s unemployment insurance fund once had a balance of $800 million.  After being exhausted in December 2008, however, the fund proceeded to accumulate a $933 million debt.  Most of this debt is being repaid in the form of tax hikes on businesses, although Haley and the “Republican-controlled” S.C. General Assembly decided last year to shift $146 million of this burden directly onto the backs of individual taxpayers.