Sunday letters: Templeton not taking responsibility

July 28, 2013 

TIM DOMINICK — tdominick@thestate.com Buy Photo

— Cindi Scoppe was certainly being kind to Catherine Templeton in her July 19 column, “New sheriff at DHEC tackles TB and … DHEC.” She portrayed Ms. Templeton in a favorable light for breathing new life into a “moribund culture” by holding employees personally responsible for their actions and for Ms. Templeton’s refreshing admission that DHEC “screwed up” the TB investigation.

Of course nowhere did Ms. Templeton assume any personal responsibility herself for the screw-up. Instead she portrays herself favorably for firing some lower level employees and urging employees to “throw your supervisor under the bus.” Hmm.

The other side of the story is that Ms. Templeton is responsible for hiring the right kind of employees and for helping them develop and maintain the right kind of attitude to their work.

Fortunately, the lower-level employees will get to publicly tell their side of the story as the investigation and court cases go forward. Work emails should be very revealing here.

It just might be that “new” doesn’t necessarily mean “better,” and “no health and environmental experience” isn’t the equivalent of fresh air in a health and environmental agency. We may even find out, as more facts become available, that Ms. Templeton was a part of the problem.

Having worked for the state, I also disagree that DHEC’s culture is one of avoiding personal responsibility. My impression is that there are many dedicated health professionals but politics has entered with an agenda to dismember them in the name of cost savings or to privatize them.

Peter H. Swanson

Columbia

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