COLUMBIA — The S.C. Department of Revenue has gone without a cybersecurity expert for more than a year, the agency’s out-going director told senators today.

James Etter, who is resigning Dec. 31, explained to a new Senate Finance subcommittee investigating the massive breach of the state’s taxpayer database that the job’s salary of about $100,000 salary has made it difficult to fill the position.

The private sector can pay twice as much to candidates with the skills needed to fill the agency position, he said.

Etter said the agency’s chief information officer assumed the cybersecurity role during the vacant period in addition to his normal duties.

The breach affecting millions of current and former S.C. taxpayers occurred while the chief information officer pulled double duty.

That official, Mike Garon, resigned less than three weeks before the Secret Service alerted state officials to the breach on Oct. 10, but the breach occurred while he was in the post. The Revenue Department has refused to say why he resigned, calling it a personnel matter.

Anderson GOP Sen. Kevin Bryant, a co-chairman of the new subcommittee, said it’s outrageous that the Revenue Department cybersecurity post sat unfilled for so long.

Read more in upcoming editions of The Post and Courier. Reach Stephen Largen at 864-641-8172 and follow him on Twitter @stephenlargen.