Embattled Department of Social Services Director Lillian Koller resigned this morning.
“It has become more and more apparent to me during the past few weeks that my being the state director is causing a distraction and making it more difficult for DSS to continue the measurable improvements made to the agency during my tenure that have improved the lives of the citizens we serve,” she wrote in a letter to Gov. Nikki Haley.
Koller came under fire for her focus on reducing the number of children in foster care at the agency, a policy some say contributed to the deaths of children who’d come into contact with DSS. Free Times detailed DSS’s failing in a major story last October, and has continued to document the agency’s high-profile troubles and Koller’s testimony before legislators looking into her agency’s failings.
Haley accepted the resignation, saying in a statement, “Lillian Koller is a dedicated public servant and child advocate, and a wonderful and loving mother — and I am so grateful for her service to South Carolina.”
For months, Democrats have been calling for Koller to be fired, as did Republican Sen. Katrina Shealy, who serves on a committee tasked with DSS oversight; last week, Republican Sen. Pro Tem John Courson added his voice to Shealy’s on the GOP side.
Haley faces re-election this fall.