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Must be nice having a taxpayer-funded backup plan …

Scott English, chief of staff to outgoing S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford, was practically measuring the drapes in the executive director’s office at the S.C. Budget and Control Board – the quasi-executive, quasi-legislative agency that administers the majority of South Carolina’s executive branch functions.

Until recently, anyway …

Unable to secure the votes needed to oust the board’s current executive director, Frank Fusco, S.C. Gov.-elect Nikki Haley was forced to give up her bid to install English in this key executive branch position.

It’s an early defeat for Haley and S.C. Club for Growth leader Chad Walldorf, both of whom had been touting English as the ideal person to implement a series of reforms that the Sanford administration laid out for the agency several years ago.

Of course it didn’t take long for English to land on his feet. In fact, sources tell FITS that the rotund Sanfordite has accepted an invitation to serve as chief of staff to incoming S.C. Superintendent of Education Mick Zais.

Hmmmm … wonder who called in that favor?

In addition to speculating about the amount of his new taxpayer-funded salary (he currently makes $98,000 working for Sanford), it will be interesting to see if English makes a dent (or even tries to make a dent) in the bureaucratic expansion that’s taken place at the State Department of Education in recent years.

That’s certainly something that fiscal conservatives will be watching closely …

Incidentally, English’s decision to accept this position with Zais represents a major coup for his close friend Kristin Maguire (a.k.a. Bridget Keeney) – the former S.C. Board of Education chairwoman who resigned in disgrace when her secret life as an erotic fiction writer was exposed.

English and Maguire – who quietly advised Haley’s gubernatorial campaign on education matters – are thick as thieves, and her influence will no doubt be felt on education policy given this new proximity to the Superintendent’s office, which has been in Democratic hands for the last 12 years.