Haley appoints new employment director

Major General Abraham Turner

COLUMBIA (WACH, AP) -- Governor Nikki Haley is continuing the trend of military leadership at the Department of Employment and Workforce.

On Thursday Haley appointed Major General Abraham Turner to replace Retired Air Force General John Finan at the agency.

Maj. Gen. Turner is currently Chief of Staff at U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, Nebraska, but this won't be his first post in Columbia. Maj. Gen. Turner served as Commanding General at Fort Jackson from 2004-2005, he is also a graduate of SC State University.

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Because he is an active duty officer, he made no comments.

Governor Haley praised Gen. Finan's work and said Maj. Gen. Turner was the right man to continue that work.

Major General Turner has long-served our country with great distinction, and we couldn TMt be more excited that he is coming home to serve our state, Gov. Haley said. General Finan has done a fantastic job getting DEW up-and-running, and Major General Turner is the right person to take the agency to the next level, with a focus on training South Carolinians and pairing them up with the jobs we TMre working to create day-in, day-out.

The 56-year-old will take the helm of the state's jobless benefits agency Sept. 1.

Turner is the second minority Haley has appointed to her Cabinet. The Senate must confirm her pick.


Gen. Finan was appointed by Governor Mark Sanford in April of 2010 to head the Department of Employment and Workforce, the agency that moved the former Employment Security Commission to a cabinet level position.

The Employment Security Commission had faced criticism for more than a year. Auditors found the commission didn't do enough to head off the need to borrow $838 million to keep unemployment benefits paid. Auditors also said the agency lacked accounting skills and didn't pay income taxes on benefits last year.

At the time, Gen. Finan said it was his job to fix those issues.

"I want to be the governors change agent, I want come in and restructure and remold the activity, and get on the right track to putting people in jobs, said Finan.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report).