S.C. reforms state’s Employment Security Commission
Citing ineptitude and a lack of accountability by the state’s Employment Security Commission (ESC), South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has signed a new law to overhaul the agency. The law essentially transforms ESC into the new, cabinet-level Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW), which will focus on connecting willing workers with open jobs across South Carolina.
“As we’ve made clear for more than a year and a half now, the ESC’s ineptitude and disturbing lack of accountability have had real world consequences — from $171 million in inexplicable payments to people who were fired for good reason and a failure to even investigate fraud since 2008, to an estimated Unemployment Trust Fund shortfall of nearly $2 billion,” Sanford said in a statement after signing the new law. “This legislation both increases accountability to the taxpayers and restores the core mission of connecting people looking for a job with employment opportunities.”
The new law gives the governor authority to appoint or remove the DEW director, compels the agency to undergo periodic audits, mandates that the agency provide regular information on employment trends and the Unemployment Trust Fund’s balance, and prohibits it from giving unemployment benefits in instances of gross misconduct. “Our work remains unfinished as South Carolina needs billions of dollars to repay our federal loan and replenish our Unemployment Trust Fund,” said state Sen. Greg Ryberg, a sponsor of the bill, in a statement. “We will address those issues in the coming weeks, and I fully expect us to continue our work in the productive and bipartisan manner by which we achieved this reform for South Carolina. I look forward to the day when Governor Sanford signs legislation to restore our trust fund to solvency.”
Read Sanford’s entire statement on the ESC overhaul.