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Gov. Nikki Haley’s appointees to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) board met in secret to plot the ouster of the agency’s director, a story in The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper alleges.

If true, it would mark yet another example of the opaque machinations of the one-time “Transparency Queen.”

Ex-SCDNR director John Frampton confirmed to The State this week that the board’s new chairwoman (chairperson?) Caroline Rhodes effectively forced him out of his job.

As we’ve noted on many occasions in the past, we have no problem governors hiring and firing pretty much whomever they want. In fact, we’ve aggressively supported expanding gubernatorial influence over the executive functions of government – even as Haley cut backroom deals with legislative leaders that would preserve our state’s splintered and unaccountable government structure.

Our problem with Haley?

The totally underhanded manner in which her administration handles these personnel moves.

Rather than simply stating their disagreement with a particular person’s ideology (or offering some other valid reason for terminating them), Haley’s team seems compelled to concoct false pretenses for literally everything they do behind closed doors.

Oh … and for those of you who think that the replacement of a career bureaucrat at SCDNR will result in a more fiscally conservative, taxpayer-friendly agency … think again.

At the request of Haley’s appointees, SCDNR is currently seeking to raise fees on South Carolina hunters, fishers and boaters by $4.7 million – despite the fact that  the agency received an additional $2.5 million in the state’s record-setting FY 2011-12 budget (and another $2.3 million in lottery revenue just last month).

How’s that for limited, transparent government?