Feature Image: Post and Courier
An article recently published in The State reported that former interim CEO, James Brogdon, declared that Santee Cooper would not be handing over the $15 million to the state to pay for financial consultants needed for the Department of Administration to explore the potential sale, management or reform offers for Santee Cooper. However, Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman demanded the money on what he claimed to be legal grounds referring to language in H. 4287 which says, “Santee Cooper is directed to provide any and all resources necessary to assist in the process for competitive bids and management proposals, as well as the evaluation of the bids and management proposals.”
This refusal to pay for the necessary financial consultation has sparked controversy across the state and put Santee Cooper’s board at the center. This is the same board who also hired a new CEO last week, set to make more than double previous CEO Lonnie Carter’s salary. Meanwhile, the coops served by Santee Cooper support the expenditure and want to see a resolution.
A recent Post and Courier editorial discusses the need for Santee Cooper to begin acting with humility. The editorial states,
“Folks who want to maintain the status quo at Santee Cooper would probably be much better off paying that $15 million bill, so legislators don’t have to spend ‘their’ (that is, taxpayers’) money.”
If Santee Cooper refuses to pay what they are legally obligated to pay, the bill will fall onto the taxpayers.
The Post and Courier editorial closed by calling for some humility from Santee Cooper’s new leadership as well.
“Meantime, the new CEO might try dialing back his predecessor’s arrogance. That’s not something legislators appreciate in others, and frankly, it’s not particularly becoming of a state agency that just blew $4 billion, and facilitated a similar fiasco by what used to be one of the state’s most important companies.”
The people of South Carolina, especially Santee Cooper’s direct serve and electric co-op customers, are more than ready for a solution to the problem. In order for a solution to take place, hiring consultants who are able to bring in the expertise and experience in transactions of this nature is crucial. The refusal to pay the $15 million owed to the state, is just one more misstep after years of mistakes.