SC DHEC director defends layoffs to senators

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The new director of South Carolina’s public health and environmental agency tells senators she didn’t start her job intending to fire anyone, but she is laying off nine people in an administrative merger.

Catherine Templeton told senators Thursday she cut nine jobs in the agency’s coastal resources division as a way to eliminate duplication and save more than $353,000 that can be used for programs. Their jobs will be absorbed by the agency’s much larger environmental quality division.

The nine workers were informed Monday. Their last day will be May 4.

Templeton told a Senate committee the jobs were in support, such as human resources and reception areas, not in enforcement.

She says more programs will be cut and more people will leave, but not without study.

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