Demise of the Executive Institute

Here’s a veto that I missed last week. I guess I should have noticed it, since it was one of those rare ones that the Legislature actually sustained:

I am very sorry to have to report to you that funding for the Executive Institute was vetoed by the Governor and the veto was sustained by the House of Representatives.  Therefore the Institute will not begin it’s 19th year in August as planned and we will shut down the operation at the end of this fiscal year.

I would like to thank all of you for the friendship, enthusiasm and support you have shown us over the years.  You are the major reason for the success we have had.  Thanks so much for 18 great years. 


Tina Joseph Hatchell
Executive Institute

Alongside such biggies as the SCHIP program and indigent defense, this one was easy to overlook. But now that I know, I’m sorry to hear it.

I’m an alumnus of the Executive Institute, class of ’94. Back then, the director of the program was Phil Grose. That was thee year that I was getting ready to come up to the editorial department from news (end of ’93, beginning of ’94). My predecessor Tom McLean paid for me to do the program, because back in those days, we had money for such professional development. Primarily, the Institute existed to train up-and-coming managers in state government, although there was always a smattering of private sector folks for leavening — which helped give the government types exposure to the private sector, and vice versa. The interaction itself was educational.

It was particularly useful because of the Institute’s teaching method. It was run in conjunction with the Kennedy School at Harvard, and the instructors led the class through real-life case studies, in which we were asked to put ourselves in the places of the public administrators who had navigated their way through a variety of crises and challenges.

Being the newspaper guy, I had to overcome a great deal of distrust and wariness on the part of my classmates, which was essential to the kind of interaction that the classes called for. Middle managers in government see press types as natural enemies, for a simple reason: Newspapers don’t write about what they do except when there is a problem, consequently we help create the phenomenon we see in the comments on this blog — a lot of folks in the electorate who only see them in terms of the worst mistakes that anyone like them has ever made, because that’s what gets written about.

But we managed to get a good enough rapport going to have some pretty good discussions going. Frequently, my role was to try to convince people that having the problem (in the case study) get into the newspapers was not the end of the world. It was interesting, and I think helpful to having a better-run state government.

Does that mean I think lawmakers should have overridden the veto. No, not if they were going to leave the prisons, mental health, our roads and 4K all underfunded. But if they were going to override either this or their pet "Competitive" Grants Program, they should have overridden this.

So guess which one they overrode — "overwhelmingly"?

18 thoughts on “Demise of the Executive Institute

  1. Lee Muller

    If this is worthwhile, the businesses and media businesses can kick in a few thousand dollars and fund it. If they don’t place enough value on it, they won’t.
    I am glad for every tiny spending cut made by Governor Sanford. Keep them coming.

  2. john

    I’d be happy to know when you, Mr. Warthen, will start espousing views that reflect your dwindling readership at The State. We are tired of your big government solutions, your support for candidates who do not respect our morality or our pocketbook, and we are disgusted by your inside baseball with the General Assembly. When will you do some investigative journalism? That used to be the heart and soul of the newspaper industry. You guys have given up. We are giving up on you as well.

  3. Reader

    John, with people’s heads showing up on the front steps of newspapers [Mexico] with notes “you’re next” — they are probably waiting for the drag net to drop on the thugs first. We have some kingpins in that legislature, in our court systems, and in law enforcement around here. If not a drag net — maybe there will be a God net. Someone needs to nail those b**tards so Freedom of Speech can come up for air!!!!!!!!

  4. Richard L. Wolfe

    A better run prison is still a prison. A better run big socialist government is still a big socialist government.

  5. Brad Warthen

    Who is it you think you’re arguing with here? Where are these straw men you’re trying to knock down?
    What “big government solutions?” What “big socialistic government?” I don’t know about you, but I live in South Carolina, a state that can’t come to grips with having a minimally adequate government, much less the sort you’re going on about…

  6. Lee Muller

    Brad, if you tried running a newspaper of your own, from the ground up, like Free Times, The Star Reporter, Skirt, or Rhino Times, you would be snapped into the reality that businesses face of government as Enemy No. 1.
    Our state operates without a real budget process, using spending plans with the previous year as the base, increasing spending at twice the rate of personal incomes.
    In the last 3 years, even their bloated spending plans were outpaced by economic growth which generated a TAX WINDFALL of $3.5 BILLION. They blew it all on unplanned programs. If you don’t think unplanned spending of $3,500,000,000 has a lot of waste in it, then you don’t know the meaning of the words, “waste”, “graft”, and “corruption”.
    The last round of cigarette tax increases gave the state an extra $200,000,000 a year. They spend less than 5% of that on medical care and anti-smoking programs. Yet you are a cheerleader for another tax increase with the lie that it is “for the children”. That is why readers laugh at the big press.

  7. Lee Muller

    Most of the waste in American government is on socialist programs:
    * welfare for the right people to buy their votes
    * Social Security welfare
    * government medical care
    * government schools
    * government handouts to academics
    * government subsidies to unwanted, unprofitable ventures like ethanol, wind farms, etc
    * government programs for arts and entertainment
    * government doing jobs (poorly) that business doesn’t offer, because no customers are willing to pay the real costs.

  8. Richard L. Wolfe

    Brad, While you were leading the cheers for government, to ” stick to the smokers,” the real story was that 1/2 of all births were being paid for by Medicaid. If, you cannot see the “REAL” problem here then you are hopeless!

  9. slugger

    Is there anyone out there that will run for office that is qualified to save us from ourselves? Sometime I think that it will take a Dictator to straighten out the ills of governmental mistakes that keep piling up debt for the working person.
    How are we going to make the non-productive part of the economic equation? We seem to have more and more people that do not meet the employment requirements in jobs available in this country. The blue collar worker is a thing of the past almost because of jobs that they held have gone offshore.
    Tell me how Obama is going to put these under-educated, nonproductive people to work? Or, is his plan that they do not have to work? He is going to provide government assistance or public service jobs? There is a segment of our society that is not employable. They are not even counted when the unemployment statistics are given. That is where his vote to put him over the top is going to come from (it is called democrats voting for themselves and their benefits).
    If I ruined your day, sorry about that.

  10. Jay

    Spare me the drama. If you want to know what a candidate plans to do, instead of hurling slippery-slope apocalypse fearing tropes around, maybe you should try doing some research. For one, you could try Obama’s website and the section on access to jobs, where he addresses what you just asked about. As far as whether you agree or not or even believe anything he says, well I can’t do anything about that. But at least try.

  11. john

    Way to go on figuring out that right and write are different words Brad. Nice correction. Your powers of observation are masterful. Now could you please apply them to doing some journalism?

  12. john

    Brad, I just realized that you posted a comment to your own blog. You make my point entirely on your own. Our state government is not even “minimally adequate” in your opinion. I guess by mocking your readers and denying the corruption of our state legislature you will make the boys on Main and Assembly quite proud. Congrats.

  13. Lee Muller

    If Obama was capable of creating real jobs, he would be managing a business.
    Government can only create make-work jobs by taking money from businessmen and individual taxpayers so they cannot create real jobs.
    Government can create very little wealth, and not as efficiently as the private sector. Most of government today consists of corrupt socialism transfering wealth from honest workers to deadbeats and scam artists.

  14. John

    Exactly right, Lee. A trip to the groery store confirms it. You can tell who pays for their groceries and who doesn’t by the load of the cart. Working people who pay there own bills don’t fill a cart with food to fill an army. They don’t swipe a gov’t issue credit card at check-out, and they don’t respond to the insulting ads on the radio encouraging people who “may not think they qualify” to apply for food assistance. I worked my tail off in SC and was penalized heavily for it, while 30% of the population joined Brad’s vision of a socialist state.

  15. Lee Muller

    The State newspaper’s business model is to appeal to and champion illiterates. That tells you how much the editors know about business. They scratch their heads and wonder why readership keeps falling.


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