COLUMBIA — Gov. Nikki Haley said so what if some people think her new phone greeting policy is hokey.
The first-term Republican told her Cabinet directors today that state government phone calls are to begin with the greeting, “It’s a great day in South Carolina. How can I help you?”
“It’s part of who I am,” the governor said. “As hokey as some people may think it is, I’m selling South Carolina as this great, new, positive state that everybody needs to look at.”
Haley said something as simple as a greeting will reinforce to government employees that they work for the taxpayers who call. And, she said, it will help with morale in government offices.
Twitter and Facebook were abuzz after the governor’s announcement.
On Twitter, @ChopperJohnson, a College of Charleston student, said “Just curious if Haley thinks she has been elected to chair homecoming committee, instead of the state of South Carolina...”
The anonymous @SCLegislator said “I have instructed my receptionist to answer the phone ‘We are so nuts that satirists are having trouble figuring out where to go with this.’ ”
Democratic consultant @LachlanMcIntosh said “It really is a great day for Nikki Haley. After-all, in how many states could a totally inept, insincere overgrown teenager be Governor?”
On Haley’s Facebook page, she wrote: “I have notified my cabinet, all employees in state government will now answer the phones ‘Its a great day in South Carolina! How can I help you?’ ”
She had 45 comments in about 45 minutes.
They included: Alan Ivers’ “Love it!!!!!!” and Donald Blanton’s “Gov. Haley ‘You Rock!’” Renée Matey Stokes said, “LOVE the optimism (because it IS a great day in SC!)! Just don’t make us have to press 1 for English! And stick an apostrophe in ‘it’s’! ;)”
Teresa Kopec, a stay-at-home mom from Spartanburg, said the governor's greeting policy might be well intended, but it's in poor taste.
Kopec said she worked at the state Department of Social Services in foster care for about 10 years and could not imagine the reaction that parents whose children have been removed from their care will have to the greeting.
"My perspective is, when most people call state government, they're usually unhappy," Kopec said. "It's usually not a great day or they wouldn't be calling."