Sanford names former USAF CFO as unemployment agency director

Columbia, SC - COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has announce the appointment of a retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general as the interim director of the newly-created Department of Employment and Workforce.

Sanford appointed Brigadier General John L. Finan to the post Tuesday. Finan, 67, served as chief financial officer of the USAF, a position he held until 1993. He also served as CFO and Comptroller of the Air Force Transportation Command, executive assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense, and budget director of the USAF Academy.

After leaving the military, Finan served as vice president for business and finance at the University of South Carolina from 1995-2001, and held the same position at Rowan University in New Jersey from 2001-2005.

"In light of the problems we've seen at the state's Employment Security Commission over the last year and a half, we decided at the outset that the reformed agency's first director should bring three things to the job - extensive experience in government finances, a deep appreciation for the principle of accountability, and an ability to lead government agencies with the integrity taxpayers expect and deserve," Sanford said. "Fortunately in Gen. Finan, we found all three. He has spent a lifetime handling billion-dollar government budgets with honesty and competence; he is committed to the principle of accountability and has the strength of character needed to turn that commitment into action; and he is extremely well-regarded by those who've benefited from his leadership in the U.S. Air Force, at USC, and elsewhere."

Sanford's announcement comes three weeks after he signed legislation creating the new department, which is part of his Cabinet. The law was designed to overhaul the troubled Employment Security Commission.

"In short, we're grateful that Gen. Finan was willing to take on this challenge - and we look forward to the work he'll be doing as part of the Cabinet over the coming months," Sanford commented. "The ESC's performance in handling its responsibilities was abysmal, but I'm confident that Gen. Finan has both the skill and the experience to bring this agency into a new era of accountability and effectiveness."

Sanford's pick will be vetted by a nine-member panel before the Senate approves Finan. If approved, he will serve until March 2011, when Sanford's successor as governor will choose from candidates the panel will qualify.

The role of the three-member commission that had overseen the agency and hired its director is now limited to hearing appeals on unemployment cases.

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