COLUMBIA, S.C. — The leader of South Carolina’s health and environmental agency won’t take a consulting contract after she leaves the agency next month like her two predecessors did.

Catherine Heigel said she doesn’t want to have any controversy when she steps down from the Department of Health and Environmental Control on Aug. 4.

Previous directors have been paid as consultants for several months as the agency searches for a new director and transitions into new leadership. But the contract for Catherine Templeton, whom Heigel replaced in 2015, became an issue in the 2018 Republican governor’s race this week.

“A contract would be a normal way to do it. But I don’t want my legacy at the agency clouded by this type of controversy. It’s just not necessary,” Heigel told The State of Columbia.

Heigel won’t just leave the department and not look back. She said she will be available whenever anyone calls and needs help. Heigel said she has a job lined up with Greenville accounting firm Elliott Davis that pays more than her $195,000-a-year DHEC salary.

“I will always be a friend to the agency,” Heigel said.

Templeton and her predecessor, Earl Hunter, were each given consulting contracts and both Democratic and Republican lawmakers who deal with DHEC said it makes sense to them.

“Catherine Templeton had experience with DHEC. It is a very large and intricate agency,” state Rep. Gary Simrill said.

“I don’t see a story there. I don’t see an issue,” the Rock Hill Republican said.

Information from: The State,

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.