Columbia (PalmettoTimes) – The Gubernatorial race for South Carolina has seen a new twist. Reports have come out that a day after GOP gubernatorial hopeful, Catherine Templeton, quit as head of the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, she was hired as a consultant. Not only that, she was paid more than she earned as DHEC head.
Templeton, who plans on unseating incumbent governor Henry McMaster, received about $17,300 as payment for being a consultant to the DHEC. All this adds up to $86,500 over a period of five months. While she was the head of the DHEC, all her salaries totaled $169,081, leading to an average of 14,090 per month.
This has raised questions, especially from McMaster’s campaign consultant, Tim Pearson, who said
“It’s strange, certainly, that somebody would get paid more money to be a consultant to an agency than they were to run an agency. It’s certainly not something I saw anywhere else during my time in and around state government.
People have a right to know exactly what Catherine did to earn the $86,500 they paid her.”
However, other candidates have also been consultants to state agencies. For instance, McMaster, in his tax returns, reported being paid $459,867 while he was the fundraiser for the University of South Carolina from 2012 to 2014.
Templeton has come out to say that DHEC paying its former directors as consultants was a standard operating procedure. Her predecessor, Earl Hunter was, was paid $15,000 as a consultant for the agency. He also started his position as consultant a day after he resigned as director of the agency.
The current director of DHEC, Catherine Heigel, would also be retained as a consultant to help with the transition to a new director, according to statement by agency spokesperson, Jennifer Read. The agreement, including details of how much Heigel would be paid as consultant, has not been finalized.
Templeton has also said that she never had any discussion with the leaders of the agency to discuss what she would be paid. She said the agency paid her what she was worth. While working as a consultant for the DHEC, she worked with the then governor – Nicki Haley – to confirm her successor.
Templeton has also worked with the South Carolina Department of Revenue. She worked there in 2015 for three months and was paid $12,500 per month.
Templeton is the greatest obstacle to getting governor McMaster reelected as Governor of South Carolina. McMaster was elected as the Lieutenant governor in 2016, but became governor when Nikki Haley became Donald Trump’s ambassador to the UN.
Templeton has raised about $1.5 million in her bid to become the GOP candidate for governor. On the other hand, McMaster has raised about $1.8 million to keep his job. It all remains to see how all this will pan out in the coming months.