Not Such A Great Day In South Carolina
Legislation would tie Gov. Nikki Haley's mandated greeting to economic conditions in the state
Calling it a "let's all get real," bill S.C. Rep. Wendell Gilliard (D-Charleston) is optimistic that a bill he is co-sponsoring will get bi-partisan support and eventually pass the General Assembly.
The legislation would prohibit state employees from being forced to answer phones, "It's a great day in South Carolina," while state unemployment is higher than five percent and until all state residents have health insurance. In September Haley ordered cabinet level agencies to begin using the phone greeting.
"As soon as she initiated that we started to get calls from state employees," Gilliard said.
Gilliard and Rep. John King (D-York County) are sponsoring the bill.
While the bill may seem petty to some, Gilliard said that is part of the point, and calls the phone greeting requirement "petty" and "ridiculous."
"Instead of dealing with these petty things and gallivanting all over creation, and writing books, Gov. Haley should spend her time building a better rapport with the Senate and the House so we can get to things that actually matter," he said.
Gilliard contends that it is not a great day in South Carolina while so many state residents are without a job. South Carolina's unemployment rate dropped to 9.9 percent in November from 10.5 percent October, but still remains higher than the national rate of 8.6 percent in November.
"We need to focus on important issues," Gilliard said. "To come into office and deal with petty stuff like this is ridiculous."
Gilliard also points to Haley's grading system for legislators as another example of the governor's administration's penchant for pettiness.
"Like we're still in grade school and high school, it's ridiculous," he said.
Haley's spokesman Rob Godfrey dismisses the bill.
"While a couple of disgruntled legislators focus on the negative, the feedback we’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive because people understand that the governor is changing the culture of our state," Godfrey said. "She is proud of South Carolina, and while we have challenges, we are making great progress every day. The focus of this greeting is to have state employees pass along a positive attitude and ask caller, 'How can I help you?' so that they remember — and the people know — that they work for the taxpayers. The governor has always said that it's time for government to work for the people, and this is the first step."