McMaster reappoints Keel as head of South Carolina law agency



(The Center Square) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has reappointed South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel after his 30-day retirement.

Keel notified McMaster of his plan to retire on Dec. 6. The South Carolina Police Officers Retirement System requires officers to retire for at least 30 consecutive calendar days before returning to “covered employment,” allowing Keel to continue to receive his retirement benefits.

A spokesman for McMaster told The Center Square Keel’s annual salary was increased to $267,036; it is listed as $195,700 in the South Carolina Department of Administration’s online database. The spokesman said the South Carolina Agency Head Salary Commission must revisit Keel’s salary.

“With over 40 years of law enforcement experience and more than 12 years as the leader of SLED, Chief Keel is widely recognized by the public, elected officials, and the media as the leader of our state’s law enforcement community,” McMaster, a Republican, said in a statement. “Retaining Chief Keel’s leadership and law enforcement expertise is a victory for our entire state.”

Officials say the move is a common practice in the law enforcement community. Keel, who began his SLED career in 1979, has served as the chief of SLED since July 1, 2011; McMaster reappointed him to the post in 2018.

The state Senate must confirm Keel’s nomination to a six-year term once it returns to session.

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