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S.C. politics

SC State House

5 Cabinet directors’ salaries increasing by total of $62,000

Five of Gov. Nikki Haley’s Cabinet directors collectively will see their salaries increase by about $62,000.

The Agency Head Salary Commission on Tuesday set salaries for six of Haley’s appointees who were confirmed this year. Only the salary for the Department of Revenue’s director remains unchanged.

The other approved increases range from less than $4,300 to nearly $27,000. Each followed Haley’s recommendation.

Their new salaries take effect immediately.

The commission also set the salary range for new positions created by last year’s government restructuring law, seen as a victory for Haley.

The law divided the duties of the Budget and Control Board. Its director currently makes nearly $193,000.

Starting July 1, Marcia Adams will be director of the new Department of Administration, with a salary between $185,500 and $287,500.

Domestic violence task force finds problem may be worse

South Carolina is consistently ranked as one of the worst states in the country for domestic violence, and research by the governor’s domestic violence task force has determined the problem might be bigger than originally thought.

The task force found no uniform reporting system for domestic violence. It also found no consistent policies on how police agencies handles domestic violence calls, that no one can definitely say how many domestic violence cases successfully are prosecuted in the state because of limitations to court records, about half of schools don’t have any domestic violence education and while there are services available for domestic violence victims, the providers sometimes don’t coordinate.

The information stunned Gov. Nikki Haley, who brought together the 136 people across a broad range of law enforcement and social services. She said it emphasized why stopping domestic violence is one of her top priorities in her second term and it will take a change in culture as much as changes in laws.

“It’s a silent crime that continues to go on because people aren’t comfortable talking about it,” Haley said.

The problems in data collection start with the officer responding to a domestic violence call. The incident reports they fill out can introduce faulty data when crimes aren’t reported as domestic violence or sections of the report about the relationship between the suspect and victim are not filled out, said Corrections Department researcher Charles Bradberry, who reviewed the system.

A prime example of the problem is Richland County, which in 2012 had the state’s highest crime rate, but its domestic violence rate was 41st out of 46 counties. That doesn’t make sense, Bradberry said.

Other counties showed wide fluctuations. Some counties with similar demographics were on opposite ends of the rankings. And a place like Greenwood County, where the sheriff’s office and prosecutors have made fighting domestic violence a priority, is at the top of the rankings because they worked hard to make sure they get the full scope of the problem, Corrections Department director Bryan Stirling said.

“We could be worse than is being reported. Until you have uniformity, it is hard to measure something,” said Stirling.

Associated Press