Back when Miss Nikki was runnin’ for guv’nah of South Carolina, she preached and promised a new kinda administration, full of openness and transparency, a marked change from our former Appalachian Trail hikin’ adulteratinm’ guv’nah of olde.
But, um, not so fast.
As SC New Democrats President Phil Noble wrote in The Greenville News, very early on in Miss Nikki’s first term–and it will be her last term, too–Miss Nikki is doing exactly what she said she wouldn’t do, shouldn’t do, couldn’t do….
Miss Nikki’s administration:
- Staff pay raises – The very first day in office she gave obscene pay raises to her campaign staff that moved over to run the Governor’s Office. Several of them are being paid more that she is paid as governor — all at a time of radical cuts to education and other vital parts of the state budget.
- White boys rule — The majority of her staff and cabinet appointments were white men. Of 24 appointments, only one is black; our state is 29 percent black. State government should look like South Carolina.
- Hiding behind technicalities — Openness and accountability were key themes of her campaign but she refuses to use the state provided e-mail and mobile phone so that she can avoid public records disclosure laws.
- Mixing government and campaign — On her Governor’s Office state Internet site, she had direct links to her campaign website, including links to solicit campaign donations. When she was called on this, she took down the links.
- Appointments for cronies — She appointed Chad Waldorf to head the Board of Economics Advisors. A trained economist with advanced degrees, not a barbecue baron, usually holds this post. My brother-in-law George cooks a great slab of ribs too, but that doesn’t mean he is qualified to provide guidance as to the economic future of our state.
- Airplane trips from donors — Haley accepted a free plane trip to California for her husband and some of her staff from Raj Mantena. He and his family donated about $24,000 to her campaign and the Republican Party. The trip was valued at $19,656. See Mark Sanford’s ethics violations as to where this kind of stuff leads.
- Public schedule and media openness — As a candidate, she promised the maximum — “open up everything to the public.” As governor she’s delivering the minimum. She promised to release her public schedule but what she releases hides more than it shows. And, as The State newspaper observed “…Haley has adopted the Tea Party-model for dealing with the S.C. media, keeping the press at arm’s length….pictures and sound-bites are what matters.”
- Improper meetings — In apparent violation of state law, Haley held a closed-door meeting with two other members of the Budget and Control Board to discuss the budget. When the Republican state Treasurer, who was excluded from the meeting objected, Haley said it was OK because the state treasurer is not relevant to the state budget. Huh?