COLUMBIA - Gov. Nikki Haley said Wednesday some South Carolina employees aren't behaving or using state resources properly because agencies haven't set clear rules.
The Republican governor created a study panel tasked with developing a model code of conduct that agencies could follow.
Many complaints received by Inspector General Patrick Maley have been about employee conduct, not fraud. Employees can't be faulted for improper use of a state car, cellphone or computer if they're given no clear direction on what they can and can't do, Haley said. She did not specify how many such calls Maley had received.
"We all work better with rules," she said. "You can't blame them if we don't tell them."
Haley created the panel, to consist of at least seven members, through executive order. Issues it must provide direction on include use of state property, accepting and reporting gifts, anti-discrimination policies and whistleblower protections.
The panel must give its recommendations by July 1. All 16 of her Cabinet agencies must then use the model to craft conduct rules that fit that agency's particular responsibilities. For example, she said, rules for employees at the State Law Enforcement Division will necessarily differ from those required by Commerce.
Haley can require only Cabinet agencies to follow her order, but she hopes other agencies do so voluntarily.
"This is not about lying, cheating and stealing. It's about: Are you using a state automobile properly? Are you using a state phone, your computers properly?" Haley said. "I think they do things because they don't know. We're going to establish it now so there are no gray areas."