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Follow-Up File: SC Office On Aging

New director designated, internal power plays continue …

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As we reported earlier this week, change is indeed coming to the South Carolina Department on Aging (Aging.sc.gov) – a superfluous bureaucracy which found itself caught up in a discombobulated transfer of power heading into 2019.

Formally the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging (LGOA), this fifty-person, $53 million-a-year state agency was previously under the auspices of the independently elected lieutenant governor per a deal struck over a decade ago between former S.C. governor Mark Sanford and former lieutenant governor André Bauer.

But with lieutenant governors now hand-picked by their running mates, the authority over this office has shifted back to the governor’s office … which is currently run (ostensibly, anyway) by Republican Henry McMaster.

What did McMaster do once he got control of the newly christened department? He tried (unsuccessfully) to nominate the husband of one of his wife’s hair salon buddies to lead it.

McMaster’s appointment of Steven Morris earned a rare rebuke from the Republican-controlled S.C. Senate – which voted 41-2 against his nomination. Undeterred, McMaster installed Morris on an interim basis – but with lawmakers returning to Columbia, S.C. next month the governor must now designate a more permanent replacement.

We reported earlier this week that McMaster had chosen deputy aging director Connie Munn for the job, and on Wednesday of this week the S.C. Senate family and veterans services committee – chaired by Katrina Shealy – posted a notice for Munn’s confirmation hearing, which is being held on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.

Take a look …

(Click to view)

Munn-Hearing

(Via: S.C. Senate)

As we noted in our prior coverage, the transition to Munn is already underway within the office – with staffers telling us all “programmatic staff” were recently instructed to report to her instead of Morris.

Prior to joining the statewide aging office, Munn (above) worked for the Santee Lynches Area Agency on Aging (SLAAA).

Before Morris’ departure, however, he dropped the hammer on a high-level agency staffer – one he has reportedly been “targeting” for some time.

On Wednesday morning – right around the time Shealy’s committee was posting its notice – Morris reportedly fired Elizabeth Ford, the daughter of former Clemson University football coach Danny Ford.

“She had been targeted by (Morris) for months,” a source familiar with the termination told this news outlet.

The firing is a shot across the bow of S.C. senator Thomas Alexander, a key legislative ally of Ford’s.

“He no longer cares who he pisses off, clearly,” one legislative observer noted, referring to Morris.

Stay tuned … we will continue to follow the power plays unfolding at this agency, which in addition to its forthcoming leadership change is also staring down a looming accounting courtesy of the S.C. Legislative Audit Council (SCLAC).

-FITSNews

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