Tag Archives: Judicial Department

Lawmakers want to grow size of state’s top court – and their control over judges

January 20, 2021

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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT The powerful S.C. House speaker, who controls half of the appointments on a committee that nominates judges for election in the Legislature, wants to expand the size of the state’s highest court and eliminate the cap on judicial nominees. Rep. Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, is the main sponsor of a joint resolution calling […]

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

December 18, 2020

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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 […]

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Plenty of Ports Authority employees in six-figure salary club

December 9, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT More than 200 S.C. Ports Authority employees received at least $100,000 in total wages last fiscal year, with agency president and CEO Jim Newsome making $546,236, records show. The total number of workers at the state-created agency who made $50,000 or more in fiscal 2020, which ended June 30, was 608, according […]

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Judicial Department reverses course, releases staff salaries after Nerve story

November 23, 2020

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  By RICK BRUNDRETT Less than three hours after The Nerve revealed Friday that the S.C. Judicial Department was keeping secret the salaries of department employees making at least $50,000 annually, the agency released a list of 300 staffers in that group, including judges. Department public information director Ginny Jones provided the list without explanation […]

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State court system keeps staff salaries secret from the public

November 20, 2020

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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Judicial Department – the third branch of state government – is refusing to publicly reveal salaries of its own employees, contending it isn’t legally required to do so. The Nerve on Oct. 18 submitted a request to the department under the state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) asking for the […]

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As South Carolinians’ income shrinks, state agency surpluses grow

September 3, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Department of Commerce started fiscal 2021 with a $103.1 million general-fund surplus – more than double its reserves from a year ago. The S.C. House of Representatives had a $23.7 million surplus as of July 1 for its 124-member chamber – nearly $1 million more than its entire budget, records […]

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Lawyer-lawmakers largely control who becomes a judge in SC. Here’s their latest power play

February 21, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Ten S.C. House members who are lawyers are pushing legislation to create two circuit and two family court seats – and several of the bill’s co-sponsors would play large roles in who gets nominated to those positions. The lead sponsor of the bill is House speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, an attorney who […]

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Thousands of state employees in the $100K-plus club

October 25, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In 2018, University of South Carolina head football coach Will Muschamp received a new six-year deal that paid him $4.2 million in the first year and is worth a total of more than $28 million over the life of the contract. His total compensation includes $1.1 million in state salary – the […]

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Senators continue tradition of keeping magistrates on short leashes

February 5, 2019

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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT In South Carolina, state senators largely control the selection of more than 300 county magistrates, who handle thousands of relatively minor criminal and civil cases annually. That power is amplified when magistrates finish their terms without being reappointed, a period known as “holdover” status in which they can serve indefinitely – and […]

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Big pay hike sought by S.C. judges also would fatten their retirement wallets

December 11, 2018

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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT A little-known state law allows eligible judges in South Carolina to receive generous retirement pay for as much as a dozen years at the same time they’re collecting their regular six-figure salaries. S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty, who heads the state Judicial Department, is now asking for a 33-percent pay […]

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