COLUMBIA -- The director of the South Carolina agency that oversees much of state government operations has resigned, six months after Gov. Nikki Haley picked her for the job, to take a role in government in her home state of Texas.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry's office announced Wednesday that Eleanor Kitzman will start her job as that state's insurance commissioner on Aug. 15. Her term there is set to expire in February 2013.
"I'm confident that Eleanor's expertise in the insurance industry will make her a strong advocate for insurance customers in Texas," Perry said in a release. Kitzman, a 54-year-old Houston native, did not immediately return messages Wednesday evening.
Haley said in January she won a huge victory when the board that oversees the state Budget and Control Board unanimously approved her choice to lead the agency. The vote came on Haley's second day in office.
The five-member board consists of the governor, state treasurer, state comptroller and two legislative leaders.
Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said Kitzman will stay in the job through the board's August meeting.
Like her predecessor, Haley wants to dismantle the agency Kitzman leads, which the Republican governor calls the "big, green, ugly monster." The agency has about 1,100 people working in more than a dozen separate functions, including overseeing contract bids, employee health plans and the state retirement fund, and making revenue projections that legislators use to write the budget. Haley tried to order legislators to return to session during a one-week break in June to pass a measure breaking up the agency and transferring much of its duties into a new Department of Administration under the governor's control.
But the state Supreme Court ruled the order unconstitutional. Haley wants legislators to move quickly to pass the measure when they return in January. Haley praised Kitzman's work at two state agencies.
Her salary as Budget and Control Board director is $173,400. The Texas release did not say what she will earn there.