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Embattled SCDEW Leader Resigns



Retired Gen. Abraham Turner – whose two-year tenure at the head of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) has been an unmitigated disaster – is stepping down from his post in Gov. Nikki Haley’s administration.

Turner’s resignation is effective March 1. It comes just days after FITS exclusively reported about SCDEW doling out $54.5 million in “improper claims” last year, according to U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) data. Over the last three years the agency has had an improper payment rate of 14.7 percent – one of the highest in the nation.

Nikki Haley and SCDEW director Abraham Turner.

Nikki Haley and SCDEW director Abraham Turner.

No wonder South Carolina’s unemployment insurance burden keeps growing for businesses and taxpayers alike.

Anyway, Turner’s resignation also comes a week after his agency laid off several employees on “bring your kid to work day” – a nice bit of irony for the six-figured bureaucrat who reportedly had a staffer pull his chair out for him prior to every meeting.

Turner and his aides were enjoying another one of their lavish taxpayer-funded retreats at the time of the firings.

It’s not immediately clear what prompted Turner to resign, but there is literally no shortage of good reasons for his departure.

Last year SCDEW was the subject of a scathing audit by the S.C. Legislative Audit Council (SCLAC). It was also placed on alert by USDOL last year due to its “continuous failure to meet the minimum standard of performance” related to the distribution of unemployment benefits.

The SCLAC report also discovered that South Carolinians who “took advantage” of the agency’s reemployment services needed an average of 26.5 weeks to get off of the public dole. Those who didn’t use SCDEW took only 22.3 weeks.

Yeah … why is government in the job placement business again?

SCDEW has also committed numerous multi-million dollar errors in its administration of the state’s unemployment insurance tax.

Turner’s departure comes two months after his chief of staff (retired colonel Joseph Lowder) and top unemployment insurance bureaucrat (Laura W. Robinson) stepped down.