COLUMBIA — The new directors of S.C.’s unemployment and revenue agencies will earn lower salaries than Gov. Nikki Haley recommended.
Bill Blume’s salary rises to $156,000 as director of the state’s tax collection agency, and Cheryl Stanton will earn $145,000 to lead the Department of Employment and Workforce, under votes this week by the Agency Head Salary Commission, which approves the salaries and raises of agencies’ top officers.
Both Blume and Stanton replaced directors who resigned amid criticism from legislators. The commission’s action means Blume’s and Stanton’s salaries will be higher than their predecessors but much less than Haley requested.
“We followed the same process we follow for each of our agency heads, and we look forward to both directors delivering continued results for the people of our state,” Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said.
Haley recommended $176,832 for Blume and $166,351 for Stanton, roughly $21,000 more for her Cabinet agency picks than approved by the 10-member panel of legislators and appointees.
Rep. Mike Pitts, who made the motion, said he went as high as he could, especially considering the 2013-14 budget proposal sent to Haley’s desk provides no cost-of-living increase to state employees. Senators’ proposal for a 1 percent increase failed in the compromise with the House.
“I couldn’t see giving the huge bump the governor recommended,” said Pitts, R-Laurens. “I want to give enough of an increase to attract the individual we want, but with the recession ... and the cuts, that’s all I could do.”
Blume took over revenue in January at Haley’s request. He replaced Jim Etter, whose resignation last November coincided with Haley acknowledging state officials did not do enough to prevent last fall’s cyber-theft of millions of residents’ personal data from their tax returns.
Blume will earn $16,833 more than Etter to lead the 680-employee tax collection agency. But his actual raise is $6,200 above his former salary as director of the agency that oversees public employees’ benefits.
Stanton begins her job Monday overseeing the unemployment agency’s 855 workers. A labor lawyer, she left a New York City firm to move to S.C. She formerly worked for the U.S. Department of Labor under President George W. Bush.
Haley’s recommendations fell in the mid-range of salaries of those in comparable positions in other state agencies and private businesses, says a pay scale study by the Hay Group.