August 9, 2018
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster today announced the formation of an advisory panel made up of a diverse group of stakeholders to assist in the search for the next director of the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS), and District 3 Rep. Gary Clary was among those tapped. The panel has been tasked with developing a set of qualifications, skills, and experience needed for the next director, which will be presented to the governor and used by a professional executive search firm to develop of list of candidates for the governor to interview.
Rep. Clary is one of six General Assembly members serving on the panel. In addition to his legislative insight, he will also bring a long background in law, which included 17 years in the private sector and another decade as a circuit court judge. During that tenured career, Rep. Clary earned a reputation for being highly knowledgable in the areas of law and procedure. That professional background, along with his advocacy work on behalf of children and families, will serve him well as a member of the panel.
“I am truly honored to be asked to serve on Governor McMaster’s Advisory Panel for DSS Director Search,” Rep. Clary said. “The job before us is vitally important, not only because of the size of this state agency, but also because of the fragile population it serves. Lowering caseloads and improving communication inside and outside the agency will be key to making sure we can improve outcomes for children and families.”
In addition to Rep. Clary, the panel includes the following individuals:
- Susan Alford, former director of SCDSS
- Sen. Katrina Shealy
- Sen. Tom Young
- Sen. Thomas McElveen
- Rep. Chandra Dillard
- Rep. Laurie S. Funderburk
- Olga Rosa, M.D., director of the South Carolina Children’s Advocacy Medical Response System (SCCAMRS)
- Carl Brown, Executive Director, S.C. Foster Care Association
- Karen Wingo, former SCDSS director of communications and legislative affairs
- Teresa Arnold, State Director, AARP South Carolina
- Steven Gilcrest, President, African American Chamber of Commerce
- Virginia Ann Mullikin, former SCDSS legal counsel
- Cynthia Flynn, Director, University of South Carolina Center for Child and Family Studies
- Michelle Dhunjishah, Director, University of South Carolina Children’s Law Center
- Maggie Cash, Executive Director, Children’s Hospital Collaborative
- Allyn Foster, President, Southeastern Workforce Strategies
“I look forward to working with this talented group of men and women to develop a list of criteria that will guide our search for the next director of DSS,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “Protecting South Carolina’s young people and vulnerable adults in harm’s way is among the most important functions of our state government, and the search for the next director deserves kind of detailed analysis that this group and I will provide throughout this process.”
Susan Alford served as director of the agency for four years until her recent retirement on July 16. Former SCDSS chief of staff Joan Meachum is currently serving as acting director of the agency.