Days after Catherine Templeton announced her resignation, the DHEC Board appointed a new Director, Eleanor Kitzman. Previous Boards conducted public,
national searches and interviewed multiple candidates before making their decision. The current Board failed to do this.
DHEC suffers from a lack of accountability: the Board is appointed by the Governor, but the Board, not the Governor, selects the Director. Fortunately, the Senate is elected by and accountable to the public – and Senators have an important role to “advise and consent” in this process.
Since the DHEC Board was secretive and hasty in its deliberation, we urge Senators to respectfully ask the DHEC Board to conduct a proper search, and then resubmit a candidate. We often hear that we should run government like a business. A business would have conducted a broad search to bring in a qualified leader. Can you imagine a Fortune 500 company picking a CEO over a weekend? That’s what this DHEC Board did.
DHEC enforces the laws that keep our drinking water safe, keep our children from being exposed to asbestos, and keep hazardous waste out of our lakes. Too much is at stake. Qualifications matter. Senators are in a position to insist on a deliberate and transparent hiring process.