I’ll take piecemeal reform over none at all, Vincent

I see that the bill to have the governor appoint the state superintendent of education — or rather, to have a referendum so voters can make that constitutional change — is coming along in the Senate, but Vincent Sheheen isn’t satisfied:

Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, wants to abolish two constitutional officers, the Secretary of State and the Comptroller General, while allowing the governor to appoint two others: the Adjutant General and the Commissioner of Agriculture.

“It doesn’t make sense to do piecemeal reform,” Sheheen said Thursday, after the Senate gave the bill second reading by voice vote only, agreeing to take up the proposed amendments at the next reading…

Well, I’m not satisfied with just doing the superintendent reform, either. Every one of those other changes should have been made long, long ago, starting with the adjutant general. Of all the strange cases of separately electing officials in SC, that one is the most bizarre.

But… since I’ve waited so many years already, I would not demand that we hold up the superintendent bill, if we can pass that, to wait on the others. That’s because several years ago, opponents of reform used the fact that all the constitutional officers were under consideration to pull a fast one. Each defender of the status quo voted for some of the changes and not others, with the precise offices being voted against varying from senator to senator. That way all of them could say they voted for reform, but each office came up short of the two-thirds majority needed. So we got no reform.

Yes, we should approved all of this changes, and do it not just today, but 20, 30, 60 years ago. But if we can get one of them done, let’s do it. Let’s do even if we know that there is so much support for the governor appointing the superintendent mainly because Republicans believe they will usually win the governor’s office, but might lose the superintendent’s.

Let’s just take a step in the right direction. Because this fragmentation of government has never served us well.

4 thoughts on “I’ll take piecemeal reform over none at all, Vincent

  1. Dave Crockett

    I am also concerned that certain members of the legislature are already trying to UNdo one of the few decent reforms that did manage to pass through the last session — namely, the creation of the Public Employees Benefits Authority. By setting it up the eleven member governing panel with four voting members from the constituent groups directly affected by PEBA’s actions (active state employees, teachers, law enforcement and state retirees), finally state workers and retirees have a voice in the operation of their own health insurance and retirement programs. They don’t have a majority vote, nor should they, but it was a great first step in dismembering the quasi-legislative Budget and Control Board run by the Executive branch.

    It was an uphill fight the entire way and not finally decided until literally the closing hours of the legislative session. I hope any attempt to turn back the clock on accountable, representative administration of public employee benefits will be firmly opposed.

      1. Dave Crockett

        Yeah, I suppose PEBA’s opponents could have established Columbia’s Return to Unaccountable Decisions and perhaps set it up to be managed the Governor’s teen-aged daughter… That would have been an interesting sandwich.

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    For once, I disagree with Vincent. Take what you can get! If you wait for the whole enchilada, you will get bupkes.

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