‘Exempt’ state agencies staffed with $100K+ workers

December 18, 2020

Investigative Reports

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By RICK BRUNDRETT

Two months ago, The Nerve asked the state-created South Carolina Research Authority for a list of its employees making at least $50,000 annually.

In one-sentence written response, the SCRA – which has a state mandate to “advance the general welfare” of South Carolinians – said only that it “does not have taxpayer funded salaries.”

But the nonprofit changed its mind and recently released the salary list after The Nerve pointed out the organization is considered a public body under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act, and that it had previously provided salary information under the open-records law.

The law requires public bodies to release the exact annual pay of employees receiving at least $50,000 in compensation, though unlike many state agencies, the SCRA doesn’t provide that information to the state salary database.

The S.C. Department of Administration, which maintains the database, on its website says – without explanation – that certain agencies are “exempt from oversight by the Human Resources Division and their information is not included.”

The SCRA is included in the Department of Administration’s list of 17 “exempt” agencies. Since October, The Nerve has been submitting open-records requests to those groups seeking salary lists of their higher-paid workers.

The Judicial Department – the taxpayer-funded third branch of state government –initially refused to release its staff salary list but reversed course less than three hours after a follow-up Nerve story in which a lawyer for the South Carolina Press Association contended the department was violating state law.

Other “exempt” agencies that recently released their staff salary lists to The Nerve included the S.C. Ports Authority, state-owned utility Santee Cooper, and the state House and Senate chambers.

For this story, The Nerve reviewed salary information released by the following “exempt” agencies: the SCRA, state Office of Regulatory Staff, S.C. Lottery Commission and Administrative Law Court.

The SCRA has 32 employees who make at least $50,000 annually, 14 of whom receive $100,000 or more. The Office of Regulatory Staff has 57 employees in the $50,000-plus group, with a dozen making at least $100,000.

The Lottery Commission has 76 workers receiving $50,000 or more, 18 of whom are in the $100,000-plus group. The Administrative Law Court has 24 employees who make at least $50,000; only the agency’s six judges earn at least $100,000.

Following are the employees in each of those four “exempt” agencies who make $100,000 or more yearly, according to agency records:

South Carolina Research Authority

  • Bob Quinn, executive director: $261,109;
  • Nadim Aziz, SC EPSCoR director: $195,338;
  • Cole Dudley, SC Industry Solutions director: $185,000;
  • Russell Cook, SC Launch director: $180,000;
  • Sohail Malik, SC Academic Innovations director: $180,000;
  • Lee Macilwinen, SC Launch investment manager: $170,000;
  • John Sircy, finance and administration director: $161,047;
  • Steve Johnson, SC Launch investment manager: $155,000;
  • Derek Willis, SC Launch investment manager: $150,000;
  • Will Cruz, SC Launch investment manager: $150,000;
  • Randy Cutts, SC Facilities director: $137,097;
  • Catherine Hayes, manufacturing industry manager: $133,900;
  • Yolanda Lewis, human resources director: $120,975;
  • Adrian Grimes, marketing and communications director: $116,500

Office of Regulatory Staff

  • Nanette Edwards, executive director: $178,619;
  • Dawn Hipp, chief operating officer: $168,000;
  • Jeffrey Nelson, chief legal officer: $143,794;
  • Mark Rhoden, chief financial officer: $132,500;
  • O’Neil Morgan, energy efficiency and renewables: $130,000;
  • Andrew Bateman, legal: $118,740;
  • Thomas Allen, safety/transportation/telecommunications director: $118,171;
  • Ryder Thompson, utility rates and services director: $115,668;
  • Steven Hamm, legal: $114,738;
  • Christopher Huber, legal: $114,480;
  • Christopher Rozycki, broadband project administrator: $109,000;
  • Daniel Sullivan, audit director: $102,248

Lottery Commission

  • William Brown, executive director: $238,170;
  • Anthony Cooper, chief operating officer: $209,216;
  • Dolly Garfield, general counsel: $168,000;
  • Joseph Boyle, chief financial officer: $153,263;
  • Ann Scott, sales and retailer relations director: $147,499;
  • Jorge Bravo, information technology director: $146,100;
  • James Perry, securities and investigations director: $137,500;
  • Claire Jones, human resources director: $131,100;
  • Carl Stent, senior legal services manager: $130,000;
  • Ammie Smith, product development director: $127,500;
  • Josh Whiteside, marketing director: $127,500;
  • Daniel Beatty, chief compliance officer: $114,117;
  • Cynthia Brown, licensing director: $110,000;
  • Alan Wilson, senior database administrator: $110,000;
  • Sean Hughes, senior information systems manager: $107,500;
  • Mark Ritchie, senior investigations/enforcement manager: $107,500;
  • Michael Wallace, cyber security manager: $105,000;
  • Lynnette Crolley, senior lottery systems manager: $100,000

Administrative Law Court

  • Ralph Anderson, chief administrative law judge: $172,758;
  • Deborah Durden, administrative law judge: $153,563;
  • Harold Funderburk, administrative law judge: $153,563;
  • Milton Kimpson, administrative law judge: $153,563;
  • S. Phillip Lenski, administrative law judge: $153,563;
  • Shirley Robinson, administrative law judge: $153,563

Brundrett is the news editor of The Nerve (www.thenerve.org). Contact him at 803-254-4411 or rick@thenerve.org. Follow him on Twitter @RickBrundrett. Follow The Nerve on Facebook and Twitter @thenervesc.

Nerve stories are free to reprint and repost with permission by and credit to The Nerve.

 

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