SC inspector general resigns

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's first inspector general confirmed Tuesday that he quietly resigned six weeks ago amid frustration about setting up the office that Gov. Nikki Haley created.

"Things just didn't work out," George Schroeder said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Schroeder emphasized that the issues were less with Haley than state laws that made it difficult to put staff in place and handle other administrative details. Haley created the inspector general's post through executive order.

"I resigned because I really was having some difficulty in figuring how to get the thing working with the staffing ideas and some of the other things the governor's office thought we could do under the executive order without having some statutory office," Schroeder said.

Schroeder said the office would best be created and operated under a new state law. He's been speaking with legislators about including that law change in a bill the Senate has passed that's now being considered in the House. "That will make for a much more independent operation," Schroeder said, giving it independence from the governor's office and Legislature.

Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said Schroeder was pulled out of retirement and "decided he wanted to go back into retirement, and we can't blame him - his long career of service to our state speaks for itself. We're interviewing candidates for his replacement."

Godfrey agreed it would be better for the Legislature to create the position, but said "that the right person can absolutely be effective under an executive order." He said the position is critical enough that governor's office will keep the office of inspector general running until a statute is passed.

Haley picked Schroeder for the job that would pay $110,000 a year. Schroeder retired in February 2009 as executive director of the state Legislative Audit Council, a watchdog that audits state agencies for spending and compliance with state laws and regulations.

After the November election, Haley put Schroeder in charge of a state Fiscal Crisis Task Force, a panel she set up to review state spending and suggest cuts. The results of that group's efforts are unclear.

The group never produced a final report, said Ashley Landess, president of the South Carolina Policy Council and state Sen. Tom Davis, who both served on the task force with Schroeder. "No, we did not get a final report," Landess said. "The governor did not want one."

Instead, Landess said, Haley was briefed on recommendations.

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