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Gov. Haley names her choice to lead South Carolina's probation and parole agency

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COLUMBIA, South Carolina — Gov. Nikki Haley on Friday named the prison agency's inspector general as the next leader of South Carolina's probation and parole agency.

Jerry Adger, 60, of Irmo, replaces Kela Thomas, who submitted her resignation letter last month. Her last day was Jan. 1.

Adger still must be confirmed by the Senate. The announcement marked the end of Haley's Cabinet changes for her second term, presenting what she referred to as the new "Team Haley."

Adger, who received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of South Carolina, has worked in state law enforcement agencies since 1977. His career began four years earlier as a fingerprint analyst at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

After nearly two decades at the State Law Enforcement Division — in jobs ranging from special agent to internal affairs — Adger worked a decade at the Department of Juvenile Justice, as inspector general and deputy director. Adger has been at the Department of Corrections since 2011.

Haley praised Adger as creating a cultural change at every agency he's worked. She said it's time for the probation and parole agency to focus on job training, to not only keep people who have served their time from reoffending but to also improve their lives.

Adger pledged to improve the agency. He said he will start his tenure by sitting down with the agency's officers to hear what they need to feel supported and do their jobs.

Earlier on Friday, Haley presented Thomas with the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina's highest civilian award.

Thomas had led the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services since the Senate confirmed her nomination in February 2011. Her one-paragraph resignation letter gave no reason for her departure.

She was among two African-Americans and six women in Haley's 16-agency Cabinet. Adger's nomination means three Cabinet agencies will be led by African-Americans as Haley's second term begins Wednesday.

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