SCDOT DIRECTOR DODGES SPECIFICS AT HEARING …
And we weren’t impressed …
Seriously … on behalf of the tapped out taxpayers of the Palmetto State, please stop counting totally unnecessary boondoggles as part of your so-called “shortfall,” especially not when there are ways to achieve your desired outcome for one-tenth the cost.
Oh, and please stop maintaining the nation’s fourth-largest transportation system (for a state that ranks fortieth in size).
Anyway … as weak as the data Haley’s SCDOT secretary Janet Oakley has offered may be, it pales in comparison to how weak she is.
Seriously … we’ve never heard a less substantive bureaucrat in our years of covering Palmetto politics. And in a state as full of hot aired bureaucrats as South Carolina, that’s saying something.
Oakley testified this week before a recently convened infrastructure committee led by S.C. Rep. Gary Simrill – and she bombed. Her powerpoint presentation – which might as well have been prepared by a middle schooler – was a textbook display of “bureaucratese,” and her polished but (purposefully?) empty remarks were peppered with hackneyed comments such as “focusing like a laser,” “setting levels” and other such utterly meaningless triteness.
That’s pretty sad for this important position, which Oakley called the “capstone of her career.”
The one time Oakley was asked to comment on a specific project – namely improvements to Interstate 26 (the main artery to the South Carolina Lowcountry) – she responded that she was “not prepared to discuss one project versus another.”
With all due respect, lady, that’s your job .
And this six-figure government bureaucrat has been on the job for four months, people …
Oakley did claim to sympathize with Lowcountry residents frustrated over I-26 because she “has a house on Edisto” (a.k.a. “rich people problems”).
Well that makes it all better, doesn’t it?
Another tone-deaf move on Oakley’s part? She showed up at a hearing focusing on an alleged multi-billion dollar shortfall with nine – count ’em nine – staffers, including multiple deputy directors (all of whom are making big, sweet dollars at the taxpayers’ expense).
No wonder fiscal responsibility ranked next-to-last on Oakley’s powerpoint slide addressing agency priorities – behind “diversity.”
Our takeaway from all this? South Carolinians should expect to continue seeing their transportation tax dollars pissed away …
UPDATE: One item worth noting? S.C. Sen. Hugh Leatherman’s top staffer attended the hearing, no doubt to make sure his boss’s multi-million dollar paving contracts weren’t in the crosshairs of this committee.