Columbia, SC (WLTX) - One of Governor Nikki Haley's new cabinet appointees has her name attached to a federal lawsuit filed last year.
55-year-old Lillian Koller has been chosen to head up the South Carolina Department of Social Services. Koller is the former director of the Department of Human Services in Hawaii.
In November of 2010, a lawsuit was filed claiming the state of Hawaii was falling behind on handing out food stamps to families in need. Federal guidelines require food stamp applications to be processed within 30 days.
Documents in the suit filed against the state of Hawaii and director Koller say that only 78 percent of applications were processed on time. During that same time, the departments staff was cut and the state lowered the eligibility requirements for food stamps, encouraging more to apply.
If the federal government finds that states don't distribute 80 percent of the benefits in a month there could be fines. So far, Hawaii hasn't been fined.
The non-profit law firm that filed the suit isn't asking for any money. They just are asking the courts to make sure the food stamps get to people in a timely fashion.
In a statement to News 19, Haley's press secretary Rob Godfrey, "Lillian Koller has been an agent of change in these tough times, which leads to criticism from detractors, but that's the kind of innovative leadership in the face of adversity that governor Haley has sought in her cabinet appointments. the governor has confidence in Ms. Koller's ability to deliver for the children and families of our state, and she looks forward to working with her."