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south carolina governor nikki haley

S.C. Gov.-elect Nikki Haley will have the unanimous support of the S.C. Budget and Control Board as she nominates a pair of former Mark Sanford appointments to lead this massive executive agency on Thursday.

Haley received the support of S.C. Treasurer-elect Curtis Loftis on Tuesday for her nomination of Eleanor Kitzman as executive director of the Budget and Control Board and Marcia Adams as Kitzman’s chief of staff. Last Friday, Haley’s nominations were endorsed by the other three members of the board – Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, House Ways and Means Chairman Danny Cooper and Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman.

“After having a chance to meet with and interview both Eleanor and Marcia, I am pleased to support their nomination,” Loftis said in a statement. “I believe that a vote for these two candidates is a vote advancing the central tenants of my campaign: increased accountability, transparency, and efficiency in government.”

Kitzman is a former S.C. Insurance Director while Adams is finishing up a stint as Director of the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles. Both were appointed by Sanford – although the outgoing governor later scapegoated Kitzman over a coastal insurance dispute. Kitzman ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor in 2010 – receiving significant contributions from the insurance industry (something to keep an eye on as she assumes this new role).

Haley has not said how much she plans to pay either of her nominees, although outgoing director Frank Fusco made $173,380 a year and outgoing chief of staff Eddie Gunn made $148,354 annually.

Sources tell FITS that Haley originally wanted to nominate Sanford’s chief of staff Scott English to this position, but Loftis objected – which led to some heated insider friction between the two “reform” politicians.

While Haley clearly won that back-and-forth – and by extension the battle for control over this powerful entity – the war over the Budget and Control Board isn’t likely to end anytime soon. In fact, sources tell FITS that lawmakers will attempt to strip the board of several of its most important functions during the upcoming legislative session – placing those items under the purview of legislatively-dominated boards and commissions.

For those of you unfamiliar with the way government works (or rather, doesn’t work) in South Carolina, the B&CB is the quasi-executive, quasi-legislative agency that administers the majority of South Carolina’s executive branch functions. It’s a holdover from the state’s 1895 constitution, which was written with the goal of watering down the chief executive’s authority in an effort to preserve the state’s legislative supremacy.

Comprised of the governor, State Treasurer, Comptroller General, Senate Finance Chairman and House Ways and Means Chairman, the B&CB is unique to the Palmetto state … and not in a good way. In fact, it’s been referred to repeatedly by its critics as the “five-headed monster,” although in recent years it has acted quite singularly and deliberately on behalf of our state’s corrupt, money-wasting legislative leaders.

We have consistently supported dissolving the B&CB completely and placing its functions under a cabinet-level Department of Administration. This would create a much more direct line of accountability – enabling South Carolina’s executives to run their own branch of government.

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