Lawmaker argues there’s no law to back up docked pay. The Speaker says, ‘We know.’

Once they have gotten past the embarrassment of being canned from a House chairmanship, lawmakers often speak of a sense of liberation.

State Rep. Bobby Franklin of Cobb County, the former chairman of the House Reapportionment Committee, recently penned some free verse.

In this letter to House Republican caucus members, Franklin takes Republican issue with Speaker Glenn Richardson’s decision to slice the monthly salary of lawmakers by one day each month — a symbolic gesture to nervous state workers:

Dear fellow Caucus Members:

Yesterday we received a letter from Glenn about his proposed furloughing of ourselves and how we should “lead by example.” I find the “leading by example” rhetoric to be disingenuous. For years I have been calling attention to OCGA 50-3-3, which states in part that “the citizens of the state are requested to take the pledge of allegiance set out in Code Section 50-3-2″ and how we should “lead by example” by taking that pledge each morning when we are in session.

So now it appears that “leading by example” only applies if there are political points to be made.

As to the furloughing:

The Constitution of the State of Georgia, Article III, Section IV, Paragraph VI, states that “The Members of the General Assembly shall receive such salary as shall be provided for by law …”

Code Sections 28-1-8 and 45-7-4 provide for that salary.

So as the law currently stands, the only example we will [set] with a self-furlough is the breaking of the law.

So let me make a suggestion.

If there is a special session, ask the Governor to include in the call legislation allowing for the furloughing of elected officials during times of economic downturns.

Let’s lead by example by recognizing that we are not above the law.

Your servant,

Bobby

We contacted the Speaker’s office to see if Richardson had a formal reaction. Instead, spokesman Marshall Guest gave us a copy of the letter the Speaker sent out to members last week — in which Richardson acknowledged the lack of precedent:

While there may be no clear legal authority to reduce the salary of General Assembly members during a term of office, I believe that there is a greater obligation for us, as leaders of this state, to carry part of the financial burden that we are asking of other state employees.

Although I understand this may create a financial hardship on some members, we are ever mindful that are actions may also create financial hardships to the employees and families of the employees who serve our state so faithfully….

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6 comments Add your comment

Gallows for all

July 20th, 2009
7:01 pm

Well, this is too easy. The deadbeats can’t find a reason for XXXXX. Fire them, then indict them. Worthless POS.

The Oddball

July 20th, 2009
7:07 pm

The Oddball finds it very odd that people who are elected to public service in this state — legislators, Public Service Commission members, etc. — seem to find the law to be nothing more than a petty nuisance, to be badmouthed and mocked when it gets in the way. Ronald Reagan once said “government is the problem.” His Republican disciples seem determined to prove it.

Artimus McDougle, esq.

July 21st, 2009
9:31 am

“… we are ever mindful that are actions may also create financial hardships…” — that’s some quality grammar there, Mr. Speaker.

GeorgiaEagle

July 21st, 2009
11:05 am

“Once they have gotten past the embarrassment of being canned from a House chairmanship, lawmakers often speak of a sense of liberation.”

Cobb county Republicans who have followed Rep. Franklin will let you know that Galloway’s introduction is flowery fiction. Franklin has been a long-time thorn in the side of GOP leadership for exactly the kind of thing Galloway’s story goes on to illustrate. This is why the GOP leadership was willing to gerrymander him out of the General Assembly by pitting him against former Republican Rep. Chuck Scheid. And they rewarded him later with a chairmanship — not! Franklin earned it, but his fearless legislative efforts in the defense of the sanctity of life (especially one verbal sword fight on the House floor against the Speaker on the issue) cost him. Like a man Franklin didn’t go to Richardson and recant when his chairmanship was in jeopardy.

It is refreshing to see that some people in the General Assembly take their loyalty oath to “support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Georgia” by responding “So help me God” actually follow through and honor the law and fear God rather than “the leadership”. Such legislators should be held in high regard and supported.

Base

July 21st, 2009
5:13 pm

Its only a part time job, why does Goofy Glenn get so much.The sword cuts both ways,the cuts are tougher when affects you.They all need to be all thrown out.They have done nothing for eight years.

Base

July 21st, 2009
5:19 pm

Its only a part time job so why does the speaker make $100,000 and complain about giving one day back.Maybe he needs some for his $68 million airport.They need to all be thrown out.