Sheheen: Government Restructuring Is Job No. 1

It’s time to take another giant step in reforming South Carolina’s state government to improve accountability for the hardworking people of our state. Over the last few years, South Carolina has gone backwards in so many areas – we’re now one of the toughest places in the nation to earn…

It’s time to take another giant step in reforming South Carolina’s state government to improve accountability for the hardworking people of our state.

Over the last few years, South Carolina has gone backwards in so many areas – we’re now one of the toughest places in the nation to earn a living and achieve the American dream, while our government has failed on its most basic functions. But one of the places where we are moving forward is in modernizing our state government in an effort to improve accountability.

Last year, I introduced S. 22, a restructuring bill to overhaul and reform South Carolina’s legislative and executive branches. I worked across the aisle to ensure the bill speedily passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. Then it was altered and passed late in the session by the House of Representatives.

A conference committee has been appointed to hammer out the differences in anticipation of the upcoming session. So now we have an exciting opportunity to reconcile the two versions and make history for our state.

The joint conference committee must begin meeting and work hard to reach a resolution. Either version of the bill would move the ball significantly forward in continuing the reforms of state government, which are imperative to improve accountability.

South Carolina has already transformed what was formerly a weak governor’s position to an influential and important leadership role. During the 1970’s the governor became eligible for election to more than one term.

In the 1990s and 2000s the governor was given the power to appoint the directors or boards of most important state agencies, including the Department of Revenue, Department of Workforce, Department of Social Service, and Department of Health and Environmental Control. The idea is that governors should be accountable for the results of their state agencies’ performance.

But the work has not yet been completed.

My restructuring bill will improve two remaining, critical areas of state government. First, modernization of the legislature has not kept pace with empowerment of the governor’s office. The result is an embarrassing lack of oversight of state programs and agencies by our elected representatives. Programs are often maintained on autopilot for years with little review or evaluation by elected leaders to see if results are being obtained by the executive branch.

State agencies operate essentially outside of public view unless disaster strikes because of incompetence or neglect. If the governor is not robustly managing programs, state government wastes money and fails to deliver essential services as we should all expect. Recent scandals and failures in multiple executive agencies are dire examples of what can go wrong with a failure of leadership and when the Legislature is not shining sunshine on executive agencies.

My restructuring bill will empower and require the Legislature to hold regular oversight hearings of state agencies, investigate allegations of dysfunction and abuse, and review the effectiveness of governmental programs so that we ensure programs are working for the people of South Carolina.

The bill also modernizes state government to eliminate the Budget and Control Board and instead create a Department of Administration within the Governor’s cabinet to achieve greater accountability in areas like car fleet management, building management, and other mundane but important internal operations of state government.

I have led the charge to establish oversight while continuing to empower the governor’s office because I believe in greater accountability — no matter which party or person is at the helm.

Politics change every day, but a government’s structure must last for generations. Effective leaders combined with a good government structure lead to a state’s success. We deserve both.


Vincent Sheheen represents Kershaw, Lancaster and Chesterfield Counties in the South Carolina Senate. This oped – reprinted with permission – originally appeared in The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier.

Pic: Travis Bell Photography

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Fandango October 3, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I worked in the Senate and tend to lean heavily Republican and vote that way. I know Haley and Sheheen and Haley CANNOT come close to Sheheen in capability, IQ, honesty, integrity and ethics.
The rumors of Haley have been rampant for years, he proclivity for dishonesty, being loose with her body, out for herself at the expense of the State, her family, the voter and taxpayer.
Say what you will, if people don’t just vote party, she IS NOT the best candidate to move South Carolina forward and she has proved this point time and again!

nitrat October 3, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Yeah, but people in SC – like you? – will vote for the R no matter how much better the D is…on “principle”.

Edgar October 3, 2013 at 10:17 pm

So you are telling me that Harpo, Toal, Tenenbaum and Clyburn as well as Uncle Bob, who are clearly pulling Vinny’s strings are all more honest that Haley and her cronies? Vinny’s team are all professional crooks. The worst of the worst. When are you going to come out for Toal publically, Vinny? And tell us why? We are watching you on that election. That will tell us all we need to know about your “integrity and independence.”

jimlewisowb October 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm


If Sheheen and his fellow cockroaches want to set a new course for this State here are a few pointers:

As of October 31, 2014 no employee of the State of South Carolina whether hired, appointed or elected will receive any additional compensation of any kind that exceeds the same annualized percentage amount given to the lowest pay grade active employees

If those employees in the lowest pay grade get a 2% annualized raise, then everyone else in State Employment can get a 2% annualized raise, no more/no less

Effective October 31, 2014 the State Retirement System will have one and only one “Retirement Plan”. for all members

Effective October 31, 2014 the State Retirement System will kick out those members who are not legitimate State, County or City Employees and bar such from ever becoming members of the State Retirement System in the future

Current members of the State Retirement System will get at least half the percentage amount of any annualized raise given to the lowest pay grade active employee

Now, if you sons of bitches are sincere about changes then go for it. Otherwise shut the fuck up cause ain’t nobody buying your bullshit

Fandango October 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm

I’m with you on all counts Jim.
This special treatment, healthcare, retirement benefits, raises for judges, the legislature and Agency heads is BULLSHIT!
There have been too many priviledged folks in the system..legislators relatives, Legislators, Judges, ass kissing unqualified employees who have ties to the Gov., a Senator, House member, Judge, etc.
I ‘ve seen it too many times.

Roach Motel October 3, 2013 at 1:30 pm

This cheese is telling us he knows a way to build a better rat trap.

9" October 3, 2013 at 3:40 pm

As a full-fledged sodomizing queer,why the hell should I vote for you,bitch?

raw October 5, 2013 at 10:22 am

Desire positive change for South Carolina; first order of business is
do not re-elect any person to state, county or local office for the next thirty


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