Leader of South Carolina's agency to help disabled is fired

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COLUMBIA (AP) — The leader of the South Carolina agency that provides services for people with disabilities has been fired without explanation.

After meeting privately and with no discussion Thursday, the board of the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs voted 5-1 to immediately fire Director Mary Poole, The Post and Courier of Charleston reported.

She had been at the agency for less than three years and made $171,400.

Commissioner David Thomas of Greenville made the motion to dismiss Poole and the former state senator told the newspaper he couldn't say why she was fired because it was a personnel issue.

Poole's firing is for the good of the agency and hopefully will lead the agency to serving more people and serving them better, Thomas said.

"I'm looking forward to bringing in some leadership that might continue to take us forward," Thomas said. "When you have to take action, it hurts and nobody's happy. It's best to do it and get it over with and move on."

When Poole was hired in mid-2018, the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs was suffering from years of abuse allegations with its providers, financial problems and long waiting lists for help.