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True Reform or Mere Restructuring

In the past few days we’ve read The Atlantic magazine expose’ revealing the horrific treatment of mentally ill prisoners by the SCDC. We have witnessed a special Senate DSS Oversight Subcommittee hearing investigating the abuse, neglect and deaths of children in foster care. We’ve learned that the SC Insurance Pool joined the list of state government agencies who cannot seem to stop our citizens’ private data entrusted to their care from becoming just another commodity on the digital black market.

We also hear the gleeful cries of politicians heralding the pending passage of the Department of Administration bill which will usher in a golden age of efficient government – or will it?

Will changing the flow chart of who reports to whom actually make our state government function better?

Reform does not begin with restructuring. Reform begins with the first question asked directly to those people entrusted with performing a service for the taxpayer, regardless of the flow chart. Reform begins with accountability. Not accountability after the fact as with the problems exposed in the media recently, but accountability demanded by competent agency heads prior to a problem occurring – and it does not matter if ┬áthe agency head reports to the Legislature or the Governor. We need both Legislators and a Governor who are willing to govern and understand how to do so.

The problem for conservatives, of which I am one, rests with our vision and execution of government. We believe in limited government. But are we willing to commit the resources and demand the accountability necessary for our vision of government to actually work? Are we going to fix our roads, bring law and order to our prisons, protect our children or are we going to settle for winning a restructuring shell game and declare victory?