A bill has been introduced to enact the “South Carolina Restructuring Act of 2011.” On the surface, this sounds like a great idea with an ostensible goal to streamline government administration and put into the Executive Branch more authorities for governance. The SCRA would “transfer to and incorporate into” a number of offices to create the Department of Administration, “a department of the executive branch of state government headed by a director appointed by the Governor.”
(B)(1) There is established, within the Department of Administration, the Executive Budget Office which shall support the Office of the Governor by conducting analysis, coordinating executive agency requests for funding, and evaluating program performance.
(2) The Executive Budget Office shall use the existing resources of the organizations transferred to the Department of Administration including, but not limited to, funding, personnel, equipment, and supplies. Vacant FTE’s at the State Budget and Control Board also may be used to fill needed positions for the office. [emphasis added]
(C) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Department of Administration may organize its staff as it considers most appropriate to carry out the various duties, responsibilities, and authorities assigned to it and to its various divisions and management and organizational entities.”
But… There is also this codicil …
The Senate and the House each report that it would require 6.00 FTEs [Full Time Employees] for research analysts at an annual cost to the general fund of $470,000 for salary, fringe, travel, and other operating expenses. The total cost to the general fund for the Legislature would be $940,000 and 12.00 FTEs.
Huh? Why do the Senate and House need additional employees because of the creation of an EXECUTIVE branch office?
The bill would require the [Legislative Audit Council (LAC)] to perform reviews and audits as directed by the legislature. Depending on the number of requests for audits and reviews, the council would likely need an additional audit team. An audit team would require 4.00 FTEs including one Audit Manager, one Senior Auditor, and two Associate Auditors at an annual recurring cost to the general fund of $304,840. The first year would also include a non-recurring cost to the general fund of $22,000 for furniture, computers, and related equipment.
The Legislative Audit Council? It’s kinda like the Congressional Budget Office
The South Carolina Legislative Audit Council conducts independent, objective performance audits of state agencies and programs, as requested by the General Assembly and mandated by law. The purpose of this oversight role is to provide information which will assist the General Assembly and the public in determining whether state agencies are efficiently, effectively, and lawfully managing public resources, and whether agency programs are meeting their intended objectives.
So, if the LAC exists to “provide information which will assist the General Assembly and the public in determining whether state agencies are efficiently, effectively, and lawfully managing public resources,” why are an additional twelve people needed (at a cost of nearly a million dollars) to do, essentially, what the LAC does?
AND, if the LAC is already auditing the departments, why do they need potentially four more people (and over $300,000)? The SCRA doesn’t create any additional organizations or departments for audit. Why, then, the extra people?
Although the SCRA consolidates some of the functions of the antiquated Budget and Control Board, the Board remains.
This authority shall not be construed to remove any authority from the Budget and Control Board for approval of statewide policies, procedures, regulations, rates and fees, or specific actions requiring board approval.
Why does the B&CB survive?
Normally (yeah, I know – nothing normal in SC government) when there is a merger or consolidation of organizations, manpower is DEcreased. Although any kind of streamlining is welcomed – as long as efficiency isn’t sacrificed – where is the true advantage of this creation? Cost savings? Efficiency? Is the bureaucracy truly disentangled?
Here was a chance to modernize South Carolina state government, but what is being proposed is only a minor readjustment with no real change.
SECTION 1-30-10. Departments of State Government.
(A) There are hereby created, within the executive branch of the state government, the following departments:
1. Department of Agriculture
2. Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services
3. Department of Commerce
4. Department of Corrections
5. Department of Disabilities and Special Needs
6. Department of Education
7. Department of Health and Environmental Control
8. Department of Health and Human Services
9. Department of Insurance
10. Department of Juvenile Justice
11. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
12. Department of Mental Health
13. Department of Natural Resources
14. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism
15. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services
16. Department of Public Safety
17. Department of Revenue
18. Department of Social Services
19. Department of Transportation
20. Department of Employment and Workforce