- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Department of Social Services has added several executive positions as the agency has been ordered to hire more caseworkers to help abused children.

The agency provided the information to The Greenville News (https://grnol.co/1P2vLEi) through a Freedom of Information Act request, which showed that DSS now has 18 employees who earn more than $100,000 annually.

The newspaper reported that DSS Director Susan Alford has hired a number of executives since being named to lead the agency last December. Some filled vacant positions and others are new slots.

Alford told lawmakers earlier this year she’s trying to modernize and reorganize an agency that’s suffered budget cuts for years.

“DSS is an agency that is recovering from a decade of budget cuts and other issues regarding its organizational structure,” Alford explained then. “We suffer not only from a lack of resources in the department but we also have spread our functions and responsibilities across the department to the degree that it has really interfered with good accountability.”

Lawmakers authorized 177 more staff this year. The agency said 146 of those positions have been filed. DSS has asked for another 157 positions next year.

Sen. Tom Young, an Aiken Republican and chairman of the Senate Oversight Subcommittee, said the panel will address the salary issue at its next meeting.

Sen. Katrina Shealy, a Lexington County Republican who sits on the panel, said lawmakers are hoping Alford can better organize the agency.

“I think we have to give her that chance to do what she thinks is the best thing,” she said. “I’m not going to question what she’s done there until I see the outcome. I think we need more caseworkers. I don’t think we need more supervisors.”

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Information from: The Greenville News, https://www.greenvillenews.com


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