South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has had a rough (first) term. Elected with a huge boost from Sarah Palin in 2010, Haley has been pummeled with attacks and accusations since she took the oath on the State House steps. Most of the criticism has been standard Palmetto State politics and some of it justly deserved. Even those times when Haley’s administration messed up, though, the mistakes were relatively minor and more the result of on-the-job training than malfeasance. The incompetence of the Department of Social Services that appears to have led to the death and sexual mistreatment of children, however, is not politics and far more serious than simple wrongdoing. It may, in fact, be an undoing.
DSS Director Lillian Koller has offered explanations, but refused to resign. Were there but one incident of harm to a child, Koller’s defense may, MAY, be tolerable, but given the repeat offenses, what appear to be systemic negligence, there is no acceptable defense. We should have had answers by now, but we have not been given anything adequate.
Nikki Haley is not responsible for what happened to the children under DSS care. Lillian Koller, Haley’s appointee, is. The governor should be all over this issue. Children have died. Campaigning, speeches and ribbon cuttings STOP when children are at risk.
Unlike the other “scandals” that have been run up the flag pole by Haley’s opponents, this one is becoming all too real and the governor herself is making it so. Loyalty is a fine and noble trait, but the governor’s loyalty to Lillian Koller must be sacrificed for loyalty to our children.
There is far too little discernible action from the Governor’s Office. The very, very least should be Koller’s suspension and DSS inundated with SLED officials working the agency like the crime scene it is. And Nikki Haley should be the first person through the door.
If the voters of South Carolina pay attention to this ungodly crime drama, DSS’s next victim could very well be Nikki Haley.