Palmetto Senator: This Is SCDSS

LAWMAKERS TURN UP THE HEAT ON TROUBLED AGENCY S.C. Senator Joel Lourie compared Gov. Nikki Haley‘s embattled Department of Social Services (SCDSS) to the wreckage of the RMS Titanic – imploring his fellow lawmakers to take immediate action to fix the scandal-ravaged bureaucracy before more children lost their lives. Speaking…


S.C. Senator Joel Lourie compared Gov. Nikki Haley‘s embattled Department of Social Services (SCDSS) to the wreckage of the RMS Titanic – imploring his fellow lawmakers to take immediate action to fix the scandal-ravaged bureaucracy before more children lost their lives.

Speaking at a State Senate hearing led by former Haley ally Katrina Shealy – who has become a champion for reform of the troubled agency – Lourie also called on Haley to offer her reform plan for SCDSS.

“We can’t leave the Titanic on the bottom of the ocean,” Lourie said.

SCDSS – the state’s welfare agency – has been the subject of intense scrutiny over the past year after this website began publishing a series of investigative reports into its chronic mismanagement on a number of fronts.

The mainstream media slept on these reports until one of them involved the death of a child – and then it took them months to pick up the story.

SCDSS is also the subject of a forthcoming audit, which we’re told will paint a devastating picture of the agency’s incompetence.

Haley’s first choice to lead SCDSS – political appointee Lillian Koller – resigned her post in June after mounting public pressure.

Since Koller’s resignation, though, problems have persisted at the agency – creating a major election year headache for Haley.


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John September 16, 2014 at 9:56 am

Once the Titanic was on the bottom of the ocean, wasn’t everyone already dead? Not sure this is the best analogy, Joel.

anonymous September 16, 2014 at 9:56 am

Joel Lourie was around when Jim Hodges was in office and children were dying in DSS care then also. This has been going on for 30 years – but only now when it has some potential political traction is anything being done. I suppose better late than never.

nitrat September 16, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Was that Joel or his daddy 20 years ago?
But, those legislators thought they fixed DSS when ‘reorganization’ came along. It was in the first round of cabinet agencies, thanks to an investigative series about child deaths by Margaret O’Shea at The State…one of the last people worth a damn there.
Of course, the legislature never bothered to do any regular oversight of those cabinet agencies, so DSS has had 20+ years to go from bad to worse with no one paying a bit of attention.

Anony too September 19, 2014 at 12:44 am

Amen, anonymous!

SCDP=Ervin=Sheheen=Obama September 16, 2014 at 9:57 am

99% of DSS employees are Democrats including management and supervisors.Democrats fuck everything up and coudn’trun a yard sale.

counter option September 16, 2014 at 10:05 am

similarly, the state is run by a super majority of republicans. same results.

SCBlueWoman September 16, 2014 at 10:12 am

Sure. Site your source.

Sandy Burglar September 16, 2014 at 10:29 am

“Democrats fuck everything up and coudn’trun a yard sale.” SOURCE = Obama, US Senate

SCBlueWoman September 16, 2014 at 11:22 am

Just as I thought, no real facts or figures, just right wing Fucked up rhetoric.

bamberger September 16, 2014 at 10:04 am

Don’t get the idea that Haley even cares about kids. Some people are just not kid-friendly.

WW September 16, 2014 at 10:06 am

Haley is a narcissist! She ONLY cares about Haley and Haley’s fundraising and reelection!

We the people need Ethics reform, term limits and recall elections!

The Colonel September 16, 2014 at 10:33 am

There’ve been exactly two successful “gubernor” recalls in the united states, Grey Davis in ’03 and Lynn Fraizer (Nebraska) in 1921.
The whole history of recalls is one of dubious results. Most of the successful recalls are against mayors or other local officials. There have been more unsuccessful attempts/efforts than there have been successful recalls. Recently (2011 forward) it has been nothing more than an attempt to overturn an election result that didn’t go the way the party out of power wanted. Generally, they are a distraction.

Bible Thumper September 16, 2014 at 11:14 am

You can limit their terms and recall them this November.

Ms. Harrison September 16, 2014 at 10:05 am

DSS is a sinking ship with no life boats.

;-) September 16, 2014 at 10:25 am

The bottom line is, SC is a depressed, impoverished, poorly educated and very religious state. Combine those with a government with an overtly patriarchal influence and you’ll get a population with a general apathy towards the well being of poorer children. Good luck fixing any of those things.

RogueElephant September 16, 2014 at 10:28 am

I hope this keeps going after the election. Right now it looks more like political posturing by everyone but Katrina. The only honest one in the crowd.

Just stop September 16, 2014 at 10:46 am

Let’s be honest here: nothing is going to change DSS and certainly not with the help of any state legislators. DSS admins can quit and be fired all day long, but nothing except a full shut down and restructuring is going to help that agency. Also, the legislative audit council is just plain pathetic for taking two years to complete a single audit. What could this audit have found that would, “…paint a devastating picture of the agency’s incompetence” that hasn’t already been brought up in the last two years by local news stations, websites (like Fits) and the DSS subcommittee? I won’t go into the fact that the LAC chairman, Mallory Factor, is a huge contributor to both Harrell and Haley, but that fact combined with the issue that it’s taken his council (the LAC) two years to complete this audit is extremely fishy to me. I wouldn’t be shocked if this audit wasn’t released until after the elections. The only other reason for this audit’s delay is that the LAC director and his staff are just so incompetent and lazy that it really does take them that much longer to finish a project. In that case, we need to shut down both DSS and the LAC and send the admins of both agencies packing.

nitrat September 16, 2014 at 3:44 pm

It’s supposed to be the LEGISLATIVE Audit Council. Audits don’t happen unless the legislators request them.
So…Which legislator(s) put the dual office holding Mallory Factor and Tommy Hartnett on the LAC board?
Both are on the Charleston Aviation Authority board, too; and, God knows what other public boards and commissions.
Is Mallory still on staff at the Citadel as the John C. West professor of government…with his biology bachelor’s degree? That would make Mallory a triple office holder.
The legislators who put them on the LAC board willfully broke SC law with the appointments. Willfully. Broke. SC. Law.

Squishy123 September 16, 2014 at 11:23 am

Sounds like a job for Lillian McBride.

Howard September 16, 2014 at 10:29 pm

It is sad that the workers that are working at DSS and truly care about the people they serve have see such negative publicity about their work. We are trying to make sure everyone gets fed while Human Services are working extremely hard and working lots of hours they never get paid for and be called names. Say we don’t care. You are totally wrong we work many hours without pay to see that we take care of as much as possible. Its just there are too much work for the amount of cases in both Economic and Human Services. We are not all Democrats or republicans and we do care and we don’t mess up everything. We are out there fighting to keep children safe and make sure all SNAP cases are approved timely. So don’t group all the workers into your made up groups. How many will of you will come in and work in a call center now with only 3 minutes between calls and management wanting workers to only take bathroom breaks at 2 15 minute break in the morning and lunch. Its all about the numbers. Its all about the numbers and get children placed in forever homes.and we do this for 21,900.00 for eligibility workers and 30,000 for human service workers and that is after 5, 10,20 years of service.

Beartrkkr September 16, 2014 at 11:03 pm

I suspect that a lot of the front line workers do care about the kids. Sadly, as you progress up the managerial line, the care for the kids start to wane towards keeping political favor on your side (and keeping your high paying job).

The pressure from the upper management to make the numbers “work” only serves to further beat the front line workers down.


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