One of the state Department of Health and Environmental Control’s top officials, lobbyist Wanda Crotwell, is no longer with the agency following a meeting this week with new DHEC director Catherine Templeton, a legislator said Friday.
State Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland, said Crotwell cleaned out her desk Friday after her email was turned off. Crotwell met with Templeton on Thursday, said Lourie, citing unidentified but “reliable” sources.
Attempts to reach Templeton and Crotwell were unsuccessful Friday night. Crotwell told The State last week she was not leaving the agency, but Lourie said things changed this week. Crotwell was no longer listed on DHEC’s website Friday as a member of the agency’s seven-person executive management team, the highest-ranking employees in the agency.
Her departure at DHEC follows a series of retirements and layoffs at the department since Templeton took over in March. Last week, Templeton laid off nine employees in the agency’s coastal division in what she said was an attempt to make the department more efficient.
Those laid off included a pregnant woman, a veteran employee nearing retirement and a woman whose husband was unemployed. Templeton was chosen to become director by the DHEC board, which was picked by Gov. Nikki Haley. Haley has said she wants a more business friendly department.
Lourie, one of three senators to vote against Templeton’s confirmation as DHEC director, said he’s upset with how the new director is treating people as she seeks changes at the agency.