- Associated Press - Monday, January 12, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A longtime ally of Gov. Nikki Haley was named Monday as the new director of South Carolina’s public health and environmental control agency.

The agency’s board selected Eleanor Kitzman just four days after Catherine Templeton announced her resignation. Templeton’s last day was Monday. The pick must officially be approved by the Senate and Haley, who appoints the entire board of the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Meanwhile, agency attorney Marshall Taylor will be the acting director.

In her 2012 memoir, Haley credits Kitzman with getting her involved in politics.

On her second day in office, Haley succeeded in getting Kitzman approved as director of the Budget and Control Board, the agency that oversees much of the state’s bureaucracy. That agency will no longer exist after June 30. A government-restructuring law passed last year at Haley’s urging divided its duties into several new and existing agencies.

Kitzman left the Budget and Control Board in August 2011, after eight months on the job, to lead the Texas Department of Insurance. That job ended in May 2013 because Texas senators refused to confirm her appointment by Gov. Rick Perry. In December 2013, she was named vice president of Starr Insurance Holdings Inc. in New York.

Kitzman led South Carolina’s insurance agency from 2005 to 2007, when she resigned over a disagreement with former Gov. Mark Sanford over coastal insurance. She had moved to South Carolina in 1999, when she founded Driver’s Choice Insurance. She ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2010, losing in a four-way GOP primary.

When Kitzman left the Budget and Control Board, she was making $173,400. Templeton’s salary is $162,600.

Templeton was an attorney in Mount Pleasant when Haley made her one of her first Cabinet selections. The Republican governor said she picked Templeton to run South Carolina’s labor department because of her legal specialty in fighting labor unions. Haley chose Templeton for DHEC in 2012. The Senate confirmed her despite criticism that she wasn’t qualified for the job.

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