Palmetto Sunrise: Critics push for more thorough DHEC director search after Kitzman withdraws

Eleanor Kitzman

The search is back on today to find the next head of the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Eleanor Kitzman withdrew her name from consideration Sunday as questions loomed about her ties to Gov. Nikki Haley and her lack of health expertise, Melissa Boughton and Jeremy Borden of The Post and Courier report. Senate confirmation hearings began Thursday and were scheduled to continue this week.

The search process that brought Kitzman before the Senate has also faced considerable criticism: The board of the sprawling agency, which regulates everything from hospitals to rivers, voted to hire her at Haley’s recommendation without considering other candidates.

Critics of the initial search, like Ann Timberlake of the Conservation Voters of South Carolina, now have their sights set on pushing for a more thorough process.

“With the withdrawal of Eleanor Kitzman, the DHEC Board has the opportunity to conduct the sort of thorough search that is necessary for our state’s public health and environmental agency,” Timberlake said in a statement.

In other news...

A lawmaker’s crude jokes show the challenges women face in South Carolina’s male-dominated legislature, the lone woman in the Senate says. (The Post and Courier)

It’s 2016 in Charleston: Three presidential hopefuls were in town Sunday. Keep track of candidates’ visits here. (The Post and Courier)

South Carolina isn’t alone, though. Sen. Lindsey Graham started the weekend in Iowa, and he’s already making plans to go back. (Des Moines Journal)

South Carolina gets less federal money for roads than it used to, but that’s only part of the state’s funding woes. (AP)

S.C. State’s board chairman says the General Assembly has caused the university “irreparable short-term damage.” (The Post and Courier)