Sanford to name interim director of Workforce Dept.

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Gov. Mark Sanford is expected to name an interim director of the new Department of Employment and Workforce Tuesday afternoon.

Sanford will name the director at 2:00 p.m. in the governor's office.

"It did take a couple years for us to get here," said Sanford of the legislative battle to get the department created. "But it came as a result of people across South Carolina making their voice heard, whether it's small business, mid-sized business or large business alike."

The new cabinet-level department was created in the wake of an audit that was critical of the way the Employment Security Commission was handled.

Auditors found the commission didn't do enough to prevent the state's jobless benefits trust fund from going broke. And they said the agency was inept at handling responsibilities, including accounting for income tax payments withheld from jobless benefits checks but not sent to the IRS or state Revenue Department.

Under state law, the Workforce Department will undergo periodic audits, provide regular information on employment trends and the Unemployment Trust Fund's balance, and prohibits the agency from giving unemployment benefits in instances of gross misconduct.

"The move will place the responsibility for this agency with one person that South Carolinians can hold accountable," said state Sen. Greg Ryberg. "This move will also allow Governor Sanford and future governors to manage the agency as a private sector CEO would. With attention to results and not politics."

The interim director of the Workforce Department will maintain the position until the next governor is elected. After that, the new governor can appoint a new director who can keep the position for at least 4 years.

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