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Harvey Peeler Announces Hearing Into SC Disabilities Agency

Panel scheduled to receive “oversight report …”

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Two days ago this news site exclusively reported on the impending resignation of Beverly Buscemi as director of the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (SCDDSN).

Buscemi has led this agency for eight years … not exceedingly well, either, if reports are to be believed.

“SCDDSN is emblematic of the Palmetto State’s unaccountable, duplicative and ineffective bureaucratic approach to public health,” we noted in discussing Buscemi’s resignation.

For starters, we’re not even sure why this agency even exists …

Wouldn’t taxpayers be better served if its responsibilities were folded into a single state health agency?

Seriously … South Carolina’s alphabet soup of bureaucracies is a mess.  Why not consolidate health agencies?  Environmental agencies?  Law enforcement agencies?

Wouldn’t such streamlining enhance accountability?  Reduce bureaucracy?  Lower costs?  Produce better service?

Right … that’s way too much common sense for South Carolina.

Anyway, not long after news of Buscemi’s impending departure broke S.C. Senator Harvey Peeler announced a meeting of his Senate medical affairs committee.

Peeler’s committee will meet at 1:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, November 15.  The meeting will be held in room 348 of the Gressette Office Building on the S.C. State House grounds in downtown Columbia, S.C.

The only item on Peeler’s agenda?  The receipt of an “oversight report” on SCDDSN.

Hmmm …

As we noted in our previous coverage, reporter Tim Smith of The Greenville News has been all over this agency in recent years – exposing major issues with one of its vendors (issues which prompted the most recent round of legislative oversight).

Naturally we’re curious as to what’s in this report … and whether it had anything to do with Buscemi’s decision to step down effective December 8.

SCDDSN is governed by a seven-member board ostensibly accountable to governor Henry McMaster.  It received $747.7 million in the annual budget that took effect on July 1 – up from $728.4 million the previous year.  Of the current fiscal year’s total, $248.9 million of the money came from general fund revenues – i.e. money raised directly through taxes on South Carolinians.

The agency exists to assist individuals who have been afflicted with intellectual disabilities, autism, traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries – and is supposed to coordinate care between the federal government and a sprawling network of county-level organizations (each of whom have their own bureaucracies).

What a mess …

Again, we believe governing structures like this are antiquated – providing little to no efficiency or accountability either to the people being served or the people subsidizing the service (a.k.a. taxpayers).

As we’ve been saying for years, state government needs to be totally streamlined … with authority over agencies vested in a strong cabinet whose leaders are directly accountable to the governor.

Again, though … that would make far too much sense for South Carolina.

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