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SC senators eye making comptroller general an appointed position after multi-billion dollar gaffe

The move would require changing the state's constitution and would change the office to a government appointment.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina senate judiciary committee wants to make the state's comptroller general an appointed position rather than one elected by voters after the current officeholder was found to have allowed a multi-billion dollar error over several years.

Under the proposed constitutional change, the comptroller general would be appointed by the governor for a four-year term.

State senators also want lawmakers to determine the duties, qualifications, and compensation of the position.

The push to change the office comes after State Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom's office made an accounting error of more than $3.5 billion in the state's general fund budget for more than 10 years.

Right now, Senate members have put forth a resolution to remove Eckstrom from office. The state House also added a budget amendment to reduce his salary from $151,000 annually to just $1 a year and is considering impeaching him.

However, the chairman of the Senate subcommittee said that's not the way he believes the situation should be handled.

"They are trying to draft articles of impeachment, which I think is not a prudent course< Senator Chip Campsen said. "And we're taking a more prudent course in taking an alternative removal of office provision that does not require a trial and does not require a crime or a misdemeanor, just persistent or neglect of duty is all that is the standard in the constitutional provision we're considering."

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