Sunday, May 15, 2005
has one master, not two
SC Statehouse Report
13, 2005 -- Look for fireworks in the coming week in another
showdown between the Legislature and Gov. Mark Sanford.
On Tuesday morning, a Senate Judiciary subcommittee is scheduled
to take up the nominations of four gubernatorial appointments
to the Santee Cooper board. Later in the morning, the House
likely will give final approval to a Senate bill that would
curb gubernatorial oversight of the state's large public-owned
utility by limiting the chief executive's ability to fire
board members at will.
Essentially, it's a brouhaha that pits legislative power
versus loyalty to the executive. A betting person will stick
with state lawmakers.
to the term of Gov. Jim Hodges, members of the Santee Cooper
board generally served seven-year terms. When vacancies arose,
governors filled slots with their nominees.
But Hodges started a bad precedent in which he got rid of
board members - - or even whole boards in the case of the
S.C. State Ports Authority Board - - and replaced them with
choices more friendly to his way of political thinking.
When Sanford became governor, he continued the precedent
by appointing ideologically-friendly pals to the Santee Cooper
board. But some of the bond-rating agencies in New York appeared
to find the practice "too political" because they
thought it decreased the stability of the board, which oversees
$5 billion in assets and the company that supplies power to
millions of people in the state.
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So the bond agencies put Santee Cooper "on watch,"
which meant its bond rating could go down, and which, in turn,
would make it more expensive to borrow money. The watch essentially
was a red flag that conditions weren't optimal.
So what happened? Sen. Glenn McConnell, the Charleston Republican
in charge of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation
to rein in gubernatorial meddling.
Essentially, the Senate bill would allow a governor to continue
to recommend appointees to the board, but would take away
the ability for a governor to fire members at will. The measure
would, however, allow a governor to remove members for cause.
In other words, if appointees were not doing their duty or
were involved in malfeasance, the governor could remove a
member. At the same time, the bill calls for increased qualifications
of board members and allows citizens to sue to remove members
who aren't performing their duties.
While all of this has been going on, some members of the
Santee Cooper board (i.e., Gov. Sanford's appointees) have
become increasingly activist in nature. Charges are flying
that board members are micromanaging on everything from corporate
contributions and power contracts to working intimately on
a privatization study.
For example, published reports show the governor's office
and some board members pushed for a six-figure Wall Street
study to determine the utility's value and assets and to study
the question of selling the utility. One board member even
wrote a forward to the study that can only be characterized
as a pro-privatization editorial version of the utility's
history. When Santee Cooper management provides copies of
the study, it includes an amazing disclaimer that says, in
part, "This study was not requested or directed by Santee
WORLD: Another view of Miss Liberty
Sanford pro and con
Thumbs up and down
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When the Senate subcommittee starts the confirmation process
on Tuesday, Santee Cooper Chairman Guerry Green, one of the
four on the hot seat, will have a lot of questions to answer.
Senators say they want to make sure board members look at
the big picture and stop micromanaging.
After the House gives final perfunctory approval to the anti-meddling
legislation Tuesday, it may be vetoed by the governor. But
House and Senate members say they have more than enough votes
Santee Cooper's struggles should serve as a reminder to members
of state governing boards that public service requires them
to carry out two duties. First, there's a "duty of care,"
which calls for board members to ensure an organization is
running effectively and efficiently. (This gives an entrée
for meddling.) But board service also carries a "duty
of loyalty," which means members must serve the interests
of the organization over interests of anyone else, such as
In Matthew 6:24, we're reminded that "No man
can serve two masters." For Santee Cooper board members,
that means their responsibility is to Santee Cooper, not any
view of Miss Liberty
Another great cartoon from Bill McLemore:
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Governor doesn't care for Average Joes
To the editor:
I am a bit confused here. Governor Sanford tells us he is
all about getting a great return on our investment, especially
tax dollars. That he wants all South Carolinians to have a
better quality of life.
Yet recently, he has publicly said he did not want to sell
off Santee Cooper - provider of some of the most inexpensive
electric services in the state, the region for that matter.
Santee Cooper provides services to many of the State's Electric
Cooperatives. But FOI records say the Governor lied! Why???
Now in his defense, Mark not being a native South Carolinian,
and of course wealthy, does not have a clue about growing
up in rural South Carolina. Many years ago, the only way electricity
was delivered to rural, underdeveloped, and poor South Carolina
was and is through the South Carolina Electrical Cooperatives.
These co-ops provide a real deal for rural South Carolinians,
and having experienced it first hand, I think they do a darn
good job. So, why on earth would Mark lie about wanting to
sell off this great deal for us poor folks. Records show he
ordered and used tax dollars to by for a study to see how
much he could get for it.
The bottom line is he does not care one bit about us poor,
run of the mill average Joes! Just look at his legislative
agenda for this year: Income Tax Cuts for the wealthy; Tax
Cuts, PPIC, for wealthy parents with children in private schools;
TORT Reform to protect wealthy insurance companies. The evidence
is overwhelming. Mark will privatize Santee Cooper and we
will see our electric rates sky rocket!!!! He would sell the
State House, I honestly believe, if he could find a buyer
for it! This guy is a real nut case!
-- Sandy Gibson, Lexington, SC
Disgusted with what passes as a Republican
To the editor:
As a lifelong Republican, I am disgusted with what passes
as Republicans today. Mark Sanford is just such a modern-day
Democrat in Republican clothing. Leadership? Where and when?
He has done nothing to rein in spending and less in lowering
property taxes. Now, it seems as if the Governor and the sheeple
Republican legislature want to raise cigarette taxes so that
the state won't have the lowest cigarette taxes in the nation.
A moron saw through the Governor's school voucher plans. The
number of private schools is so small that only the elite
of the elite will be able to attend. Public schools should
be in the business of educating children for the future. Today,
we educate the children in pop culture, social trends and
political correctness. Health and science teachers should
be teaching about disease and not demonstrating condoms.
Sanford and Republicans ignore the illegal immigrant problem.
While Americans have to fight for worker's compensation or
health care, illegal immigrants have no problem collecting
what they have never paid into. South Carolinians are dying
because the Governor ignores their needs, but goes out of
his way to protect the rights of the criminal illegal immigrants.
His name has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate
in 2008. Not hardly. Think Tom
Tancredo. A man who remembers that he is an American and
is actively working to protect Americans.
-- Janet Upshaw, Taylors, SC
Attack on Sanford is liberal hogwash
Editor's note: This rant is published in
full and unedited -- spelling and grammar errors included.
To the editor:
I find your column (Commentary,
5/8) attacking Governor Sanford not only a poor piece
of writing but a classic example of liberal hogwash. Please
allow me to tell you why.You make light of the Governor's
efforts to Get meaningful legislation though the Legislature
but you fail to give names of those who oppose or give any
examples of you poor writing i.e., " Bedrock GOP activists
seem to smell blood in the water as one remarked in print
this week, " Governor Sanford is worthless." Now
Andy , Who said that , if it was in print why not name the
author? (Editor's note: See The
Another example i.e.," Several powerful interest groups
are mad with the Governor and would prefer to see him not
returned to office." Teachers are mad because of voucher
program . Which teachers Andy , you mean all teachers are
mad about a voucher program that was not approved? I find
that hard to believe, we do need a voucher program however.
Again you state ," Many electrical co-op customers are
mad after he stuck his nose in the affairs of Santee Cooper
and its operations." Well, Andy I am a co-op customer
and I am not mad but instead I am GLAD the Governor had Santee
Cooper evaluated by a Wall Street Banking firm and now we
have a better idea as to the worth of this State owned asset
then we have had in many years.It is wise for our Governor
to understand the operations and value of Santee Cooper, most
everyone knows our Governor can never sell Santee Cooper ,Santee
Cooper can only be sold or changed with the approval of our
I believe you know that as well Andy but you like to upset
those who do not know and possibly turn them against our Governor.
Also you state Lawyers are mad at him for tort reform efforts!!
Well glory be, If Lawyers are upset over tort reform then
things must be looking up for us average taxpaying citizens!,
keep up your efforts on even more tort reform Governor.
I could go on and on about how you never give any facts or
name any specific GOP voters who want to see Governor Sanford
defeated.Instead you use names like "many","
Sumter residents"( no names, " if enough groups
get mad"( groups not named)
The only one you quote who dislikes the Governor is Rep. James
Smith of Columbia who you quote as saying " I think his
support is a mile wide and an inch deep".Oh, yes, Rep
James Smith is a Democrat!
Our Governor Sanford is doing a terrific job , he is proposing
bold and progressive programs for this State. Our State needs
more jobs , more Industry to locate in SC , more money to
remain in the pockets of its citizens and less government.
We need to improve the educational opportunities for all of
our children. Public schools can be part of this program but
need not be the only avenue for reaching these young minds.
Political partisanship like that shown by Andy Brack and by
many of our State Legislatures will not get the job done.
The programs put forth by our Governor are not right nor are
they wrong because they come from the GOP ,instead they are
good because they will improve the quality of life for every
citizen in South Carolina.
Articles appearing in our news media that are void of ideas,
void of any true facts , void of identifying those who supposedly
are against a person or program, are really a disservice to
the entire community .
I suggest "the Item " newspaper and others demand
from those who write articles attacking ones positions or
programs be obligated to name those who disagree and not use
" Many", "others", " groups",
etc as supporting evidence of the writers claims.
-- Lew Richards, Manning, SC
Shavone Gadsden, sophomore, Columbia College
on Neanderthal column,
Natalie Mann, Bluffton, SC
SOUTH CAROLINA SCORECARD
Here's a "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" related to various
political events from the past week:
Base closure. Whew! South Carolina is sad to lose
two smaller installations in Charleston, but the big bases
-- Shaw, McEntire, Fort Jackson, Parris Island, Charleston
AFB and Beaufort Marine Air Corps Station -- survived.
Mental health coverage. Hats off to lawmakers for
joining other states to require insurance companies to pay
for some mental health treatments.
Environmental grand jury. Another hats off for finally
passing the measure to allow the state grand jury to probe
environmental crimes. This helps protect South Carolina's
Kirsh, Clemmons. Thumbs down to an effort by Rep.
Herb Kirsh, D-York, and Alan Clemmons, R-Horry, to privatize
the SC Ports Authority. It's not smart to lose this huge state
Sanford. We tried not to list the governor AGAIN on
the Thumbs Down list, but then he went and started talking
about how he can't see how blacks can be elected statewide.
Governor, this was a blatant attempt to pass your version
of restructuring, not a serious comment to really help blacks.
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