LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Do they deserve the raise they got?

Dear Editor,

I recently saw in the news where five department directors in South Carolina state government are going to receive up to 48 percent wage increases. They are the directors of the Office of Regulatory Staff, Department of Administration, Department of Corrections, State Fiscal Accountability Authority, and Secretary of Transportation. As an S.C. taxpayer, these are your employees, who will now be making between $245,000 and $298,000 per year. If you break it down to a 40-hour work week, that’s about $117-$143 per hour. I wonder what they did to deserve this huge jump in pay? Did these departments become percent 48% more efficient last year? As for the Transportation Department, did our roads suddenly improve by 48 percent last year? Did their workload increase by that much over the past 12 months? I don’t think so. One state legislator said the raise was justified “to maintain qualified directors and compete with the private sector.” So, they’re using tax money from the private sector to compete with the private sector. How much sense does that make to you? Last week, I saw where bus drivers, custodians and food service workers were only getting a 20 percent increase. Even with this gain, they are all still making under $15 an hour. But, that is a normal, living wage and these particular state employees deserve it. Those directors don’t. How on Earth does a state government director accept that money with a straight face? How does the Secretary of Transportation (who just received a 32 percent increase last year) take another 20 percent increase, making her salary $298,000, when those employees who toil and sweat, battling the weather and pouring asphalt make so much less? And don’t you think it’s funny that the Director of State Fiscal Accountability Authority is taking a huge increase at a time when the taxpayers are hurting the most? Is that what our government means by “fiscal accountability”? I can’t believe our legislators would have the gall to do this after 15 months of a pandemic, increases in unemployment and a struggling economy. Do they even care anymore? Or are they finally showing themselves to be just as greedy as we’ve always thought they were?

Burney R. Drew

1333 Ruth Drive

Darlington, SC

Author: Rachel Howell

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