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HomeNewsSouth Carolina comptroller announces resignation amid fallout from $3.5 billion accounting error

South Carolina comptroller announces resignation amid fallout from $3.5 billion accounting error


South Carolina Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom announced his resignation Thursday amid a $3.5 billion accounting error on last year’s books.

“I have never taken service to the state I love or the jobs to which I have been elected lightly, striving to work with my colleagues, from constitutional officers to members of the General Assembly, to be a strong advocate for the taxpayer and a good steward of your hard earned dollars”Eckstrom wrote in his five-paragraph resignation letter to Governor Henry McMaster.

Your budgeting mistake had no impact on the day-to-day finances of those hard-earned dollars. But he inflated the amount of money that state colleges and universities received.

Eckstrom said a computer coding error tricked the software into counting those funds twice.

The problem was unnoticed for a decadereported The Post and Courier. A junior staffer discovered and corrected the flaw last fall, by which time the accounting was off by $3.5 billion.

State legislators criticized Eckstrom.”for willful dereliction of dutyin a report, and state officials testified that auditors had warned for years of a “material weakness” in his office and pointed to flaws in the state’s cash reports.

While the error in the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report did not affect the state budget, it misrepresented South Carolina’s finances to Wall Street credit groups, The Post and Courier noted.

state legislators they were not notified until February 9, and were not impressed with Eckstrom’s shaky timeline testimony in hearings before the legislature. They cut his salary to $1 and moved to fire him. They are also pushing to convert the elected position to a governor’s appointment, a move Eckstrom said he agreed with.

Eckstrom had served 20 years, was first elected in 2002, and has won easily five times since. Nobody questioned his candidacy in the last two elections.

His resignation is effective April 30. Lawmakers will choose his replacement in the coming weeks.

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