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The Latest: McMaster backs pick to lead S Carolina DHEC

December 19, 2018

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the state health and environmental agency picking a new director (all times local):

3:40 p.m.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster says he is confident in the 17-month search that ended with the board of the state’s health and environmental department picking one of its own members to run the agency.

McMaster called the Department of Health and Environmental Control Board’s vote Wednesday to make Dr. Rick Toomey the agency’s director the end of a “professional, thorough, and deliberate search.”

The board met in public for less than five minutes Wednesday, and only one member said anything about Toomey’s qualifications.

Toomey was president of Beaufort Memorial Hospital from 2007 to 2016. McMaster appointed him to DHEC’s board in February, eight months after the search for a new director started.

DHEC has more than 3,000 employees and is a sprawling agency that oversees everything from hospitals and public health to water quality, dams and landfills.

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10:45 a.m.

South Carolina’s health and environmental department has ended a 17-month search for a new director by picking a former hospital executive already on the agency’s board.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Board voted Wednesday to make Dr. Rick Toomey the agency’s director. The appointment must be approved by Gov. Henry McMaster and the state Senate.

Toomey was president of Beaufort Memorial Hospital from 2007 to 2016. McMaster appointed him to DHEC’s board in February, eight months after the search for a new director started.

DHEC hired a search firm and reopened the posting this fall to see if it could find any other qualified candidates. The agency says it had more than 130 applicants.

DHEC’s 3,000 employees oversee everything from hospitals to water quality to dams and landfills.

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