South Carolina’s first Councils of Governments were formed in 1967 when Governor Robert E. McNair signed legislation dividing the state into ten official planning districts.
As the Governor officially introduced the state’s citizens to this new regional concept, he described new entities created to provide a “uniform geographical framework within which the planning, programming and delivery of services by state, federal and local government might be undertaken with maximum efficiency and effectiveness.”
Even their formative years, the state’s new Councils of Governments did not disappoint. Their earliest missions focused on regional planning, keeping track of all types of statistical information, obtaining and administering grants and supporting regional economic development.
Our earliest Federal partners included the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Health Education and Welfare (HEW), the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Economic Development Administration. These agencies or their successors remain key allies today, even as our list of partners has grown along with the needs and expectations of our regions.
Today, COG missions, programs and partnerships have been broadened to address today’s challenges (See Services), but the founding principle remains the same: To work cooperatively with local governments in all 46 counties, enhancing their capacity to guide growth and development and improving the quality of life for all South Carolina residents.
The early charge to achieve “efficiency and effectiveness” still lies at the heart of the COG mission and has become the defining hallmark of all ten Councils.