COLUMBIA — Republican Gov. Nikki Haley announced Monday that former Rep. Ted Pitts will be her next chief of staff.
Haley’s office said Pitts will replace Bryan Stirling, who is leaving to become head of the state prisons agency.
Pitts has been a deputy chief of staff since Haley took office in January 2011, serving as a liaison to legislators and agencies.
The 41-year-old major in the South Carolina Army National Guard represented Lexington in the state House from 2003 until 2010, when he received a Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan. Haley, first elected to the House in 2004, also represented a portion of Lexington County.
“Ted has been a vital member of our team from the very beginning, and I am proud and excited to name him as our new chief of staff,” Haley said in a statement first provided to The Associated Press. “Having served together in the Legislature and worked closely over the past three years, he is someone who understands our administration’s priorities and has the institutional knowledge needed to put those priorities into action.”
Pitt’s salary will be $128,750, the same amount Stirling made in the position. That represents a $24,000 pay boost for Pitts. Before joining Haley’s staff, Pitts was a commercial real estate broker.
Haley named Stirling last week as her choice to lead the Corrections Department, replacing retiring director Bill Byars.
Stirling is slated to take over Oct. 1. The Senate still must confirm him for the role after legislators return to Columbia in January. The former deputy attorney general was chief of staff for less than a year. Haley selected him for the job last October, after Tim Pearson returned to Haley’s campaign to gear up for her re-election bid.
Pitts announced plans to run for lieutenant governor in 2009, but he dropped out of the race in October of that year after learning his unit was deploying to Afghanistan. It was his first active-duty service since joining the National Guard shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.