SC

The Politics Of SC’s Tuberculosis Scandal

There is plenty of failure and criticism to go around when it comes to the tuberculosis scandal that has rocked Greenwood County, S.C. Most egregiously, a South Carolina government-run school deliberately ignored state law – permitting an employee who was infected with the disease to expose numerous children. That is…

There is plenty of failure and criticism to go around when it comes to the tuberculosis scandal that has rocked Greenwood County, S.C. Most egregiously, a South Carolina government-run school deliberately ignored state law – permitting an employee who was infected with the disease to expose numerous children.

That is flat out inexcusable – a critical mission failure. However three Democratic State Senators – Joel Lourie, Brad Hutto and Vincent Sheheen – aren’t interested in that vital, indisputable point. After all, to admit that the state’s government-run school system dropped the ball would prove that all their claims of “accountability” within the state’s taxpayer-subsidized K-12 system were bunk.

So if not the truth – or advancing the interests of public health – what are these three Senators interested in? That’s easy: They are all about scoring political points for Sheheen’s upcoming gubernatorial campaign. Oh … and exacting a measure of revenge against S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) director Catherine Templeton, who has emerged as the scapegoat in this drama.

First, a little background … in lining up his 2014 gubernatorial bid, Sheheen recognized that converting more women – and more Republicans – would be essential to scoring an upset victory over S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley (RINO-Lexington). And so with that thought in mind he approached Templeton with an interesting concept – a joint, “bipartisan” ticket in which he would run for governor as a Democrat and she would run for lieutenant governor as a Republican (and a former Haley appointee).

Brilliant idea, right? Exactly … except for one thing: Templeton said “No.”

Shortly after Templeton was hired to run the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) last year – an appointment which was made over our strenuous objections, we might add – she taped a video message to every single employee of the agency. In that missive, she encouraged any SCDHEC employee who had concerns about the way the agency was being run to bring those concerns directly to her. Not only that, Templeton angered many of the agency’s top-level bureaucrats by guaranteeing confidentiality related to the information she received.

In other words, Templeton not only permitted whistleblowing – she actively encouraged it.

Additionally, rather than sitting in her Charleston, S.C. office all day, every day – Templeton has traveled to all corners of the state to personally inspect SCDHEC’s numerous facilities in an effort to uncover efficiencies and streamline the agency’s management practices. In fact were it not for one of these visits to Greenwood, S.C. in May – the tuberculosis story would have never become a statewide story.

That’s right … it was Templeton who blew this epidemic up. And it was Templeton who took decisive action to address the problem the moment she became aware of it.

Don’t get us wrong: There is plenty of blame to go around at Templeton’s agency. Several SCDHEC employees have already been fired for failing to sound the alarm regarding this scandal, and we’re of the opinion that Templeton staffer Jamie Shuster should be let go as well.

But Templeton is getting railroaded on this scandal for two exclusively political reasons: 1) the ongoing failure of a government-run school system which Sheheen and his cronies have been blindly defending for decades and 2) her refusal to join Sheheen’s “bipartisan” gubernatorial ticket in 2014.

This website savaged Templeton when she was the director of the S.C. Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation (SCLLR). And as mentioned earlier, we were adamantly opposed to her appointment at SCDHEC. But so far she has proven us wrong at the agency –  working hard to eliminate unnecessary functions, save tax dollars and dismantle the good ol’ boy system which had dominated SCDHEC for years.

In fact that good ol’ boy system – which is alive and well in our government-run schools and in some corners of SCDHEC – did its best to cover up the tuberculosis exposure. Templeton, to her credit, has done the opposite – at no small expense to her promising political future.

Lourie, Hutto and Sheheen need to stop grandstanding on this issue and start investigating the real failure here – the rank incompetence of the government-funded schools into which they continue to pour nearly $10 billion each year.

Maybe then we’ll get some answers …

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54 comments

Frank Pytel August 9, 2013 at 8:06 am

Excellent article.

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Frank Pytel August 9, 2013 at 8:06 am

Excellent article.

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IMMAHANGUPPENLISSEN August 9, 2013 at 8:33 am

This is bullshit. Show one shred of evidence that proves this, just one shred.

By the way, joint tickets aren’t constitutional until 2018, so how exactly would Templeton and Sheheen run as a ticket when they’re in two separate columns— and she would have to win the GOP primary. I mean, come on! At least make up something plausible.

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Will Folks aka Sic August 9, 2013 at 8:58 am

First of all, I LOVE your comment name. +2 for that. As for the ticket, we have sources in Sheheen and Templeton’s camps who have confirmed our reporting – independently, it’s worth noting – and last time we checked there is no law banning a Democratic gubernatorial candidate and GOP lite gov candidate from campaigning together.

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IMMAHANGUPPENLISSEN August 9, 2013 at 9:28 am

Thanks for the +2 on the name. Football season is upon us, and the callers from Red Bank and Pelion certainly inspired it.

Anyway, “sources” can be self-important Phil Bailey wanting to see his name in print (or at least tell people he was a source), or someone at DHEC or in Haley’s office wanting to slant this toward Sheheen. Look– as Harry Truman said, the buck stops at Haley. It’s her agency, her cabinet member.

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IMMAHANGUPPENLISSEN August 9, 2013 at 9:42 am

I guess what I meant to say (below) is that “sources” within the cesspool of South Carolina politics are completely full of whatever it is they wallow in. These assholes like to hear themselves talk and only stoke speculation, rather than provide factual evidence to something. When you’re working for clowns, I guess it’s not hard to just join the circus!

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TontoBubbaGoldstein August 9, 2013 at 10:11 am

First read the name as “I’m Mahan Guppenlissen” and thought, “German, Scandinavian?”

Need. Moar. Caffeine.

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IMMAHANGUPPENLISSEN August 9, 2013 at 8:33 am

This is bullshit. Show one shred of evidence that proves this, just one shred.

By the way, joint tickets aren’t constitutional until 2018, so how exactly would Templeton and Sheheen run as a ticket when they’re in two separate columns— and she would have to win the GOP primary. I mean, come on! At least make up something plausible.

Reply
IMMAHANGUPPENLISSEN August 9, 2013 at 8:33 am

This is bullshit. Show one shred of evidence that proves this, just one shred.

By the way, joint tickets aren’t constitutional until 2018, so how exactly would Templeton and Sheheen run as a ticket when they’re in two separate columns— and she would have to win the GOP primary. I mean, come on! At least make up something plausible.

Reply
Will Folks aka Sic August 9, 2013 at 8:58 am

First of all, I LOVE your comment name. +2 for that. As for the ticket, we have sources in Sheheen and Templeton’s camps who have confirmed our reporting – independently, it’s worth noting – and last time we checked there is no law banning a Democratic gubernatorial candidate and GOP lite gov candidate from campaigning together.

Reply
IMMAHANGUPPENLISSEN August 9, 2013 at 9:28 am

Thanks for the +2 on the name. Football season is upon us, and the callers from Red Bank and Pelion certainly inspired it.

Anyway, “sources” can be self-important Phil Bailey wanting to see his name in print (or at least tell people he was a source), or someone at DHEC or in Haley’s office wanting to slant this toward Sheheen. Look– as Harry Truman said, the buck stops at Haley. It’s her agency, her cabinet member.

Reply
IMMAHANGUPPENLISSEN August 9, 2013 at 9:42 am

I guess what I meant to say (below) is that “sources” within the cesspool of South Carolina politics are completely full of whatever it is they wallow in. These assholes like to hear themselves talk and only stoke speculation, rather than provide factual evidence to something. When you’re working for clowns, I guess it’s not hard to just join the circus!

Reply
TontoBubbaGoldstein August 9, 2013 at 10:11 am

First read the name as “I’m Mahan Guppenlissen” and thought, “German, Scandinavian?”

Need. Moar. Caffeine.

Reply
Sam August 9, 2013 at 8:46 am

She is a pathological liar. This article is total bullshit aimed at damage control for the piss poor performance she gave yesterday. Nice try.

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southmauldin August 9, 2013 at 10:51 am

This is a detestable coverup by DHEC and Templeton, just like Haley and our social security number and bank account information with DOR. Both waited and waited while damage was being caused just to protect their sorry asses.

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Boykin2 August 9, 2013 at 8:08 pm

You obviously did not see her testify, and yes, it’s true.

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Sam August 9, 2013 at 8:46 am

She is a pathological liar. This article is total bullshit aimed at damage control for the piss poor performance she gave yesterday. Nice try.

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southmauldin August 9, 2013 at 10:51 am

This is a detestable coverup by DHEC and Templeton, just like Haley and our social security number and bank account information with DOR. Both waited and waited while damage was being caused just to protect their sorry asses.

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Boykin2 August 9, 2013 at 8:08 pm

You obviously did not see her testify, and yes, it’s true.

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Vanguard16 August 9, 2013 at 8:58 am

Not hard to score political points when Haley and Templeton are throwing the game!!

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Vanguard16 August 9, 2013 at 8:58 am

Not hard to score political points when Haley and Templeton are throwing the game!!

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d d August 9, 2013 at 9:17 am

So Will, you are saying that Shuster and Templeton just happened to be in the car together on a trip to Greenwood when this story was developing by coincidence? Give me a break man. She is sly and quite intelligent for sure but you’re giving WAY too much credit here. This is politics pure and simple. Be sure, that you are correct on the Democratic angle but you give her far too much praise. Why does she not work from Columbia? Why does Shuster not work from Columbia, as I understand? There is not agency director (to my knowledge) who is allowed or has ever been allowed to do this. Politically exquisite timing marks her actions, reactions. And did you notice her disrespectful tone to some senators…mind you I care not for the party they represent as it is just disrespectful as she is repeatedly demonstrates.

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Boykin2 August 9, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Shuster works in Columbia.

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Mike at the Beach August 11, 2013 at 11:30 am

…and SC gov’t has a long history of letting agency heads and senior bureaucrats work from all over the state, usually driving their state-issued rides from hours away whenever they do roll into Cola.

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S E August 9, 2013 at 9:17 am

So Will, you are saying that Shuster and Templeton just happened to be in the car together on a trip to Greenwood when this story was developing by coincidence? Give me a break man. She is sly and quite intelligent for sure but you’re giving WAY too much credit here. This is politics pure and simple. Be sure, that you are correct on the Democratic angle but you give her far too much praise. Why does she not work from Columbia? Why does Shuster not work from Columbia, as I understand? There is not agency director (to my knowledge) who is allowed or has ever been allowed to do this. Politically exquisite timing marks her actions, reactions. And did you notice her disrespectful tone to some senators…mind you I care not for the party they represent as it is just disrespectful as she is repeatedly demonstrates.

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Boykin2 August 9, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Shuster works in Columbia.

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Mike at the Beach August 11, 2013 at 11:30 am

…and SC gov’t has a long history of letting agency heads and senior bureaucrats work from all over the state, usually driving their state-issued rides from hours away whenever they do roll into Cola.

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Ken R August 9, 2013 at 9:37 am

Wow, unfair and imbalanced is right. It seems like every day goes by we find another politician paying off FITS. Yesterday it was Mace. Today it is Templeton. So Will, are these ladies paying you or sleeping with you, or both?

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Ken R August 9, 2013 at 9:37 am

Wow, unfair and imbalanced is right. It seems like every day goes by we find another politician paying off FITS. Yesterday it was Mace. Today it is Templeton. So Will, are these ladies paying you or sleeping with you, or both?

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Demo lite August 9, 2013 at 9:49 am

Lourie was a hero when he called Lee not so Bright out for Grand Standing (if you can call it that, all five ft of him) to the news cameras! Seriously, Sheheen is the real deal and Templeton is a sly foxy lady.

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Demo lite August 9, 2013 at 9:49 am

Lourie was a hero when he called Lee not so Bright out for Grand Standing (if you can call it that, all five ft of him) to the news cameras! Seriously, Sheheen is the real deal and Templeton is a sly foxy lady.

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Manray9 August 9, 2013 at 11:03 am

It is sad commentary on our times that when a crisis has occurred you just assume all the government officials are lying, obfuscating, finger-pointing and covering-up.

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Frank Pytel August 9, 2013 at 11:45 am

Excepting the fact that they are?

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Manray9 August 9, 2013 at 11:03 am

It is sad commentary on our times that when a crisis has occurred you just assume all the government officials are lying, obfuscating, finger-pointing and covering-up.

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Frank Pytel August 9, 2013 at 11:45 am

Excepting the fact that they are?

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nitrat August 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Hmmm…taxpayer subsidized is BAD when it’s a “government-run” school, but taxpayer subsidized is GOOD when it goes to a for profit run private school???
I believe that is the REAL definition of crony capitalism.

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nitrat August 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Hmmm…taxpayer subsidized is BAD when it’s a “government-run” school, but taxpayer subsidized is GOOD when it goes to a for profit run private school???
I believe that is the REAL definition of crony capitalism.

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TimesAwasting August 9, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Her opening up a line of communication directly to the director, with invitation to use it given openly to all staff, management or line, is one of the best and bravest ideas I have seen in an agency. Far too many bureaucrat managers intentionally hide behind layer after layer of oleaginous courtiers in lower levels of management, ones who got where they are in no small measure by (figuratively again) painting bright gloss over deep rust . . . instead of inspecting, reporting, and repairing the faulty bridge structure.

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TimesAwasting August 9, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Her opening up a line of communication directly to the director, with invitation to use it given openly to all staff, management or line, is one of the best and bravest ideas I have seen in an agency. Far too many bureaucrat managers intentionally hide behind layer after layer of oleaginous courtiers in lower levels of management, ones who got where they are in no small measure by (figuratively again) painting bright gloss over deep rust . . . instead of inspecting, reporting, and repairing the faulty bridge structure.

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The Dude August 9, 2013 at 8:47 pm

What did you smoke before you wrote this?

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The Dude August 9, 2013 at 8:47 pm

What did you smoke before you wrote this?

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LeftBehind August 10, 2013 at 11:30 am

“Give us Barabbas!” howls the mob.
The critical details will come out eventually, I suppose, in the lawsuits. Until then it is hard for a rational person to judge.
Still, has anyone even alleged that a single person likely contracted TB during the disputed delay? Was the unfortunate delay still within CDC protocols? Where is the alleged direct harm on which to sue?.
The terminations are another matter entirely.

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LeftBehind August 10, 2013 at 11:30 am

“Give us Barabbas!” howls the mob.
The critical details will come out eventually, I suppose, in the lawsuits. Until then it is hard for a rational person to judge.
Still, has anyone even alleged that a single person likely contracted TB during the disputed delay? Was the unfortunate delay still within CDC protocols? Where is the alleged direct harm on which to sue?.
The terminations are another matter entirely.

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inciteful August 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm

DHEC’s performance is the joke,…and not surprising. Nikky hand picked another female lawyer from a firm that donates to her campaign. This i not the job for a sinecure. This is an agency post that REQUIRES a trained, experienced professional, NOT a position for training wheels. Even the job posting required a deep public health background. The other candidates had it. Haley’s pick didn’t. Now we have a public health disaster. And we’re surprised??? We look fofr the political angle???That’s the point with this. Willie, you missed it. It’s a professional failure, not a political one. The girl’s in over her head. Period.

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YeahYeah August 11, 2013 at 2:52 pm

What public health background did the previous commissioner have?

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inciteful August 11, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Earl Hunter (The previous Director) had an MPH and 30 years’ experience, The internal candidate was a chemist with 28 years of environmental health experience with DHEC (Of course she got run off. “Mirror, mirror on the wall,..” and all that.), and the outside candidate had an MPH, an MHA, and a PhD in public administration with 35 years experioence running health care organizations larger than DHEC. Nikki’s choice was an attorney whose firm donated much to her campaign.

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YeahYeah August 12, 2013 at 8:22 pm

So he had the same MPH that the much-disparaged assistant director has?
But back to the main point, how much of his pre-commissioner experience was in public health? How experienced in public health was he when he first became commissioner or agency director? I thought he was from the environmental side and had no public health experience.

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inciteful August 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm

DHEC’s performance is the joke,…and not surprising. Nikky hand picked another female lawyer from a firm that donates to her campaign. This is not the job for a sinecure. This is an agency post that REQUIRES a trained, experienced professional, NOT a position for training wheels. Even the job posting required a deep public health background. The other candidates had it. Haley’s pick didn’t. Now we have a public health disaster. And we’re surprised??? Yetyou look fof the political angle??? The point with this is the what happened, NOT the political fallout. Willie, you missed it. It’s a professional failure, not a political one. The girl’s in over her head. Period.

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YeahYeah August 11, 2013 at 2:52 pm

What public health background did the previous commissioner have?

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inciteful August 11, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Earl Hunter (The previous Director) had an MPH and 30 years’ experience, The internal candidate was a chemist with 28 years of environmental health experience with DHEC (Of course she got run off. “Mirror, mirror on the wall,..” and all that.), and the outside candidate had an MPH, an MHA, and a PhD in public administration with 35 years experioence running health care organizations larger than DHEC. Nikki’s choice was an attorney whose firm donated much to her campaign.

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YeahYeah August 12, 2013 at 8:22 pm

So he had the same MPH that the much-disparaged assistant director has?
But back to the main point, how much of his pre-commissioner experience was in public health? How experienced in public health was he when he first became commissioner or agency director? I thought he was from the environmental side and had no public health experience.

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Britishblue August 11, 2013 at 5:12 pm

To say I’m disappointed in the change of mind of FitsNews on Ms. Templeton, would be an understatement. Your complete turn around on this issue is unwarranted at best. Try working for her and see if you feel the same way. The damage that she accomplished at LLR, combined with the damage she’s inflicting at DHEC will take years and millions to correct.

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Britishblue August 11, 2013 at 5:12 pm

To say I’m disappointed in the change of mind of FitsNews on Ms. Templeton, would be an understatement. Your complete turn around on this issue is unwarranted at best. Try working for her and see if you feel the same way. The damage that she accomplished at LLR, combined with the damage she’s inflicting at DHEC will take years and millions to correct.

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no no August 25, 2013 at 2:45 am

Templeton was first at LLR. Her role there was to bust the union for some large company from Seattle(cant remember the company name). DHEC was her next position because of building and small company regulations ect… Not health. I saw one video of her talking about obesity and obesities relationship to other health problems. She didn’t know the big one: Diabetes
Yeah, she has got a raise since her appointment. Told DHEC staff this is right to work state over and over again. And the nurses must have agreed with her. Check and see how many nurses have quit because they would rather work some place that is health centered and not trying to run health care like a business. Sick, needy and low income people normally cant even work in the business world. How do you expect them to get health care and services using a business format.

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