DSS director says she won't step down, sees fixes

By MEG KINNARDAssociated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WCIV) - The director of South Carolina's Department of Social Services says she won't step down.

Director Lillian Koller told reporters Wednesday she doesn't think her resignation is necessary and feels there is more work to be done.

Koller spoke after testifying before a Senate subcommittee created to investigate the agency. Koller told lawmakers she wants more full time positions to help handle cases around the state and also wants to regionalize county DSS offices to provide a better network to start cases.

Democratic state Sen. Joel Lourie has called on Gov. Nikki Haley to fire Koller. On Wednesday, Lourie pressed the director on why the agency has not sought more money in its budget request. Koller says she can fund the positions and just needs people to fill them.

"Director Koller showed today exactly why the governor appointed her in the first place - she is a committed advocate for South Carolina's children, and someone who has overseen dramatic improvement in an agency that deals with some of the toughest, most tragic situations in our state," said Haley spokesperson Doug Mayer. "Governor Haley is proud of Director Koller, the staff at DSS, and the changes they have made, changes that have resulted in a decrease in child fatalities, an increase in adoptions, and the ability to provide more services to children and families statewide than ever before."

Gov. Nikki Haley took to Facebook to praise Koller.

"I am so proud of Dir. Lillian Koller and her testimony in front of the Senate sub committee," she wrote. "She has answered all questions with full transparency. Amazing that senators are criticizing her for setting goals and accomplishing them. She has dramatically improved the agency since she took over in 2010 in spite of this political games by certain senators."


Kinnard can be reached at

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