DOT board holds fast to accounting reversal

For the moment, the state Department of Transportation is holding fast to its decision last week to reverse a change in its accounting practices, in defiance of the state auditor.

The board held a special meeting Thursday to revisit the issue, but after an hour of contentious debate, DOT Board Chairman Bill Kuhlke failed 8-3 to get the board to rescind the vote it took last week.

The board did make it official to delay the reversal until July 1.  DOT is seeking an opinion on the issue from the state Attorney General, Thurbert Baker, which board members hope to have before July 1.  If Baker tells them to stop, the issue would apparently be moot.

Last week’s vote could affect how and when DOT spends hundreds of millions of road work dollars.

The state auditor’s office in reports over the last two years said that DOT was illegally booking revenue it couldn’t book yet, enabling it to spend more than it really should.  The auditors declared DOT in a huge deficit, and road spending slowed to a trickle.

Kuhlke argued that even if the accounting change were delayed to July 1, the cloud hanging over the department’s head could hurt Georgia’s bond rating and cost it money in higher interest rates.  Board Member David Doss replied that even after the auditor’s searing reports publicized DOT accounting troubles, Georgia’s bond rating had remained stellar.

“Why can’t we just wait [to authorize the reversal], and if we get the A.G.’s opinion, and if it’s in favor, then we begin to implement it?” Kuhlke asked.

“We have been wrestling with this issue for 22 months,” Doss said. “It has put thousands of Georgians out of work.”

18 comments Add your comment

Gena Evans

January 28th, 2010
3:07 pm

First!
First to say there is a problem with the accounting and the entire DOT and first one to move on with my wonderful life and leave it to others to fix. Hey isn’t that what I have been doing all of my career? My time was causing problems at DOT was well spent. I finally met a man dumb enough to marry me again.

the fact checker

January 28th, 2010
3:30 pm

When every state around Georgia counts funds for multi-years and has no problems with the bond ratings it should be fine here also.

The facts are the GDOT is bloated with personnel who do nothing but collect a check twice a month.
Why are asphalt crews now assigned to Rest Area clean up duties, with no work involving asphalt being done. This is just one example of crew sitting idle and collecting checks.

Aaron Gould Sheinin

January 28th, 2010
4:11 pm

Hey, Fake Gena Evans, love the effort but tread carefully please in hijacking someone’s name like that.

Walter Cronkite

January 28th, 2010
6:11 pm

Aaron take a chill pill. Why doesn’t someone at the paper do some in-depth reporting on the real issues that affect us working people not just rehash what “news” is already out there.

Zeb

January 29th, 2010
9:22 am

The same folks who blast Obama for deficit spending will gladly sink the State of Georgia into a tar (asphalt) pit of debt–with smoke & mirrors accounting. And, because our leadership is so backward and so in the pocket of road builders, we missed out on billions in transit funds that would’ve created lots of jobs, while many of our more enlightened and progressive neighbor states will be swimming in high-speed rail money, and Georgia continues it’s slide into third world oblivion.

wants answers

January 29th, 2010
9:46 am

Bonds sold for roads would have gone a lot further than those sold to fish. The reality is what is important to the Governor and legislators is what gets the money, not necessarily what is best for the state as a whole.

Zeb

January 29th, 2010
9:55 am

Road builders run this state.

This article is the AJC at it’s best and what journalism should be:

http://www.ajc.com/homefinder/content/printedition/2009/05/17/cwmatthews0517.html

[...] front: My AJC colleague Ariel Hart has also written about yet another – very complicated — dust-up between Perdue and the state transportation board. Dick Pettys over at InsiderAdvantage posits this: Our sources say the following steps are now [...]

Road Scholar

January 29th, 2010
11:49 am

the fact checker: They are working the rest areas because it has been too cold to lay asphalt! It has to be in the 50’s to get a lasting benefit. Would you propose they do nothing and get paid versus addressing maintenance issues?

Base

January 29th, 2010
1:12 pm

Doss is a front for the highway contractors of course he wants the old ways.But Sonny and his legislative buddies only want power.

wants answers

January 29th, 2010
4:22 pm

isn’t Doss also involved in a firm that does business with the DOT?

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ada Ming, Bob Bering, elgordo, AJCGeorgia, Martin and others. Martin said: DOT board holds fast to accounting reversal: For the moment, the state Department of Transportation is holding fas… http://bit.ly/diGTIG [...]

the fact checker

February 1st, 2010
12:19 am

hey road scholar….has it been too cold for the past 20 months….because that is how long they have performing clean up duties at rest areas only….no asphalt laid……you gdot moron….

home team

February 1st, 2010
7:19 am

Gdot crews are cleaning the rest areas because the recent implementation of Evans’ “voodoo economics” resulted in the cancellation of rest area maintenance contracts.

gapeach

February 1st, 2010
10:43 pm

home team is correct. Due to budget constraints, the contracts for rest area maintenance were pulled. At the same time, GDOT has not able to purchase materials such as asphalt to repair/rehab roads unless it is absolutely critical. Employees that would normally perform these repairs have been reassigned to rest area maintenance in order to keep the rest areas open. Travelers are grateful now that rest areas are still open – but what happens when the roads deteriorate due to the inability to properly maintain them. GA desperately needs to find a way to fully fund transportation maintenance and to pay the debt service from Fast Foward that is eating up 30% of the budget. How much maintenance could be done with that 30%! Layoffs are not the solution. Employee rolls are depleting due to retirement and attrition – no new faces are being hired. Just think about this during the BIG ice and snow event that will inevitable hit most of the state sometime in the near future. Inadequate staff to clear the roads, unable to buy salt and sand. And then unable to repair the damage to signs, guardrails and later deteriorating roads that inevitably occur following one of these events.

Hoping4Rail

February 3rd, 2010
11:12 am

About Gena Evans;
I’ve worked with her. She’s tough. I’d like to say that always stayed on her good side but she and my boss, at the time didn’t exactly get along. I however, admired her then and I do today. She was, and still is the perfect person to lead GDOT. However, she isn’t one to cow-under to anyone, and all the GDOT Board was willing to accept, was someone to bring them coffee and shut up. I’ve attended several GDOT Board Meetings. They are real stomach-turners for people who really care about the future of our state.
To “Hometeam” her “Voodoo” economics was simply strieghtforward accounting that exposed the real shenanigans that had been the order of the day for years. If this caused the cancellation of anything, it was only because she was for the first time in quite some time. calling the real numbers. What we’re are seeing now is all the chickens coming to roost, and Dr. Evens was merely trying to warn us. May she enjoy a long and happy life away from this circus.

KILL the MESSENGER!! It always works, huh…

peter1953

February 3rd, 2010
12:24 pm

People just remember at election vote all new people. Vote for your pockets,and what you would like to see new not what every one else tells you to vote for.

tired of the B.S.

February 10th, 2010
9:58 pm

The fact is contractors are getting all th paving jobs,dot people are cleanning rest areas, because dot stopped contracting out the job of cleanning the rest areas, and now put that in your little note pad,but i must say, the dot has its people working all weekend and holidays with out paying overtime and no time and ahalf on holidays,the dot is full of crap, doesn’t gave a shit about the people who work for them,employees go threw harresment by other employees and nothing is done, jobs are given to people who have friends in the office, so much ass kissing,no wonder you always see some dot employees always wiping thier nose, cleanning of the crap off thier noses where they had them so far up someone;s ass,dot use to bbe a good place to work,,but now,if your not in the so called group or family your nothing , but the ass kisser:s, have it made,,, and that is the fact,,FACT CHECKER,put that in your little note pad you keep