Charleston DSS office has interim director

Lois Richter is now the head of the Beaufort County DSS Office. (Staff file photo/ Alan Hawes)

COLUMBIA — An agency shuffle has left the Charleston County Department of Social Services office with an interim director.

Lois Richter is now the director of the DSS Beaufort County office, while Sylvia Mitchum became the interim director of the Charleston office, confirmed DSS spokeswoman Marilyn Matheus on Monday. Both changes became effective Monday. It’s the second change for the top position of the Charleston County office in as many years.

The Charleston office lost its director in 2013, when Frank Oakley was terminated by the agency. He filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination. The suit’s status in court documents is listed as dismissed as of November.

Richter was hired in early 2014. She took over during a turbulent time at the notoriously underfunded state agency, as a legislative panel pummeled the department for the mismanagement of cases by some county offices and publicly chastised the department’s then-Director Lillian Koller for underplaying the agency’s ills. Gov. Nikki Haley has since named Susan Alford as the agency’s chief.

Richter came to DSS from the Charleston Guardian ad Litem Program, where she worked as a circuit coordinator. Mitchum has been with DSS since 1975 and most recently held the position of Economic Regional Services Director for Region I, which includes Charleston.

Reach Cynthia Roldan at 708-5891.