Democratic Sen. Phil Leventis is calling on Gov. Mark Sanford to fire Corrections Department Director Jon Ozmint, but the Republican governor Monday said he has full confidence in his Cabinet director.
Leventis accuses Ozmint of creating a hostile work environment by being an arrogant bully to employees and state officials. In response, Ozmint accuses the Sumter senator of trying to retaliate against him for the 2007 misconduct firings of two of Leventis' friends.
Leventis outlined his concerns in a five-page letter to Sanford, dated Friday.
The Legislative Audit Council is reviewing the agency. Ozmint maintains the review is based on false allegations, and he's calling for an investigation into Leventis for releasing information in a preliminary report on the agency before it's legally public.
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A spokesman for the governor said Monday Sanford has confidence in Ozmint's ability to address any issue that may arise from the report.
Leventis, who has long criticized Ozmint, said the letter came after a federal court upheld a more than $350,000 jury award against two top agency officials from an employee, whose lawsuit accused them of conspiring to have him fired because he wouldn't go along with their disapproval of the way a 2003 prison riot was handled.
Leventis noted one of the officials remains at the agency and has additional lawsuits pending.
Ozmint calls Leventis' protests a case of revenge after two workers were fired for making racist comments. But Leventis said his complaints are unrelated.
Ozmint is a member of Sanford's Cabinet, so only the governor can fire him.
S.C. gets $722,000 to boost special adoptions
South Carolina's has been awarded $722,000 in federal funds to encourage more adoptions of abused or neglected children, it was announced Monday.
The state was granted the money by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services because it exceeded the number of such children who were adopted the previous year.
The rewards are granted to states that meet the federal standard. They range from $4,000 to $16,000 depending on the age of the child or whether the child has special needs.
Charter school group seeks boost in students
CHARLESTON - South Carolina's largest charter school association says it hopes to enroll 10 percent of the state's public school students in the next five years.
The (Charleston) Post and Courier reported Monday that about 9,000 students are enrolled in charter schools now. Charter schools would have to attract about 70,000 students to reach the goal.
The new executive director of the South Carolina Association of Public Charter Schools says the schools opening next year and in 2011 should put the goal within reach.
Mary Carmichael of Charleston says other states have had sharp growth. Carmichael helped found the Charleston Charter School for Math & Science.
Charter schools are public schools run by boards of parents and community leaders and don't have to follow county school board policies or mandates.
Richland to discuss water quality protections
Richland County will discuss with citizens some of the measures being proposed to boost water quality protections.
The final two forums will be from 7-8:30 p.m. The locations:
- Thursday: Adult Activity Center, 7494 Parklane Road, Northeast Richland
- Sept. 24: Region 1 Sheriff's Substation (Lower Richland), 2615 Lower Richland Blvd.
Company gets more time to remove dams
ANDERSON - A federal judge has extended a one-year deadline to remove two dams in river in the northern part of the state in order to deal with PCB contamination.
The Greenville News reported Monday that U.S. District Judge G. Ross Anderson Jr. said he gave Schlumberger Technology Corp. more time because of noise and safety concerns. Anderson did not provide details on a new time line for the removal.
The judge had earlier this year ordered that the dams on Twelve Mile River be removed by July 7, 2010.
Officials hope the removal of the dams will allow fresh sediment to cover the PCB contamination in Lake Hartwell. Health advisories have been posted for 30 years, warning against eating certain fish from the lake.