Controversial Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham is out of his post, but Gov.-elect Nathan Deal said he has offered him another job.
Graham said he doesn’t know anything about it.
Deal announced late Friday that Graham would be staying in state government, working under State Treasurer Tommy Hills.
Reached by phone, Graham said, “I don’t know anything about a job offer.”
Brian Robinson, the governor-elect’s spokesman, said Graham was offered a job. Graham was out of town Friday and Robinson said there “must be some miscommunication” that will be cleared up.
As revenue commissioner, Deal is replacing Graham with Doug MacGinnitie, who lost a bid for the Republican nomination for Secretary of State this year.
Deal also named Melvin Everson, a Gwinnett County state legislator who lost a race for the Republican nomination for labor commissioner this year, director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development. And he named a campaign staffer, Gainesville journalist Harris Blackwood, to run the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
He named Tonya Boga director of the Office of the Child Advocate, and announced he would retain Debbie Dlugolenski as head of the Office of Planning and Budget.
Graham’s ouster as revenue commissioner wasn’t a surprise.
Graham has been one of the state’s most aggressive revenue commissioners in decades, publicizing the names of tax offenders and vigorously going after tax cheats in court. His style made him enemies in the General Assembly, and he even had his name raised in debates by gubernatorial candidates who vowed to can him.
Deal had extra incentive to go after Graham because of their dispute over the governor-elect’s business dealings.
Deal and Ken Cronan operate a salvage yard in Gainesville that for nearly 20 years enjoyed a no-bid agreement with the state to provide space for inspections of rebuilt vehicles. The AJC reported in August 2009 that Deal intervened with Graham and other state leaders to stop Graham from changing the program that earned Deal and Cronan’s company nearly $300,000 a year. Deal said he was worried the changes would lead to more unsafe cars on Georgia roads.
The newspaper’s report led to a congressional ethics investigation that found Deal possibly violated U.S. House rules. Deal resigned from Congress in March before any formal accusation was made.
A federal grand jury later subpoenaed records and testimony from Graham about the meetings with the congressman, a top staffer and state officials. Deal told reporters he was not the target of a federal probe into the case.