Can we at least be honest about this?
Sen. Chip Rogers had become an embarrassment to the Georgia Senate that he served as majority leader, to the Georgia Republican Party and to the entire state of Georgia. His strange obsessions, from a ban on involuntary chip implantation to conspiracy theories about Agenda 21, made him a laughingstock nationwide. His long-concealed history in the sports gambling business and ethical questions, including efforts to wriggle out of responsibility for a defaulted bank loan, compounded the embarrassment.
But most importantly, as majority leader, Rogers helped to preside over a state Senate that had become dysfunctional. He needed to be gone. After voters in his north Georgia district were given the chance to do so but failed, other means had to be arranged.
So last month, Rogers was informed that if he sought another term as majority leader he would lose. At the same time, he was also quietly offered a nice, cushy little job, arranged by the governor, at Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Put bluntly, he is being paid to go away, using state money and a make-work job as the carrot. In fact, the job in question is so new and amorphous that no one in state government even knows what it will pay.
Here’s a portion of the GPB press release, in which is it is announced that Rogers is being hired to create a “new programming initiative that will examine current economic development trends and spotlight job-creating companies throughout the state”:
“GPB has a long history of serving Georgians with programming that is relevant to career and consumer issues, said Nancy Zintak, vice president of marketing and communications of GPB. “We have long wanted to create a forum for our communities to learn about jobs in Georgia and areas of growth around the state.”
Right. With all the budget problems faced by Georgia, this is the state’s most pressing need, the place where we need to put new money. And in saying that GPB had “long wanted” to create such programming, “long wanted” should be understood to mean ever since the governor’s office contacted the agency and told them to put Rogers on the payroll.
Your tax dollars, at work.
– Jay Bookman