Sheheen hits Haley on alleged DSS incompetence - - Columbia, South Carolina

Sheheen hits Haley on alleged DSS incompetence


Members of a legislative committee expect to post some hard questions to the state's Social Services Department chief on Wednesday.

Agency head Lillian Koller has agreed to appear before the panel and defend her agency from critics who say children are dying due to DSS incompetence.

It remains to be seen whether this is one of those issues that will resonate with voters or if they're more concerned with jobs and healthcare or other things.

But right now, Senator and Democratic candidate for governor, Vincent Sheheen, is pounding away at the turmoil within DSS, saying they are another example of cabinet agencies with significant performance problems during the Haley years.

Sheheen blames Koller for what he and some others suggest is the agency's emphasis on favorable statistics at the expense of clients especially children.

The Kershaw senator rolled out a dozen recommendations aimed at improving child safety and making DSS more accountable. Among those measures is protection for whistleblowers.

Haley has so far stood by her appointee, who has made few public appearances since experiencing a stroke in December. But it's not just Democrats including candidate Sheheen saying it's time for Koller to step down.

"The abuse that has taken place in that agency is horrific and it needs to be addressed, but I think the governor is trying to address it," said Sen. John Courson. "I do think the first step would be the resignation of the director. I think that would send a sign, a signal that the General Assembly are getting this thing under control."

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