(The State) South Carolina lacks a health department chief as the coronavirus pandemic rages. When will that change?

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is seeking a new leader to fight the coronavirus pandemic as the unprecedented health crisis marches through the state — and some officials say it’s critical that DHEC choose the right person.

It may be late December before the agency makes a decision on a new executive director to replace Rick Toomey, who resigned in late spring during the height of the pandemic. Toomey, who had high blood pressure and a heart condition, served less than 18 months.

So far, the board has received 45 applications for the director’s job, which pays a minimum of $178,126 annually. Acting director Marshall Taylor, the department’s chief legal counsel, has not applied for the position, a spokeswoman said.

The agency’s board is scheduled to meet Monday to discuss the vacancy.

“The board is committed to ensuring the most appropriate, qualified, and experienced individuals are reviewed for this important position,’’ agency spokeswoman Cristi Moore said in an email.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, State Government