Tom Crawford of the Georgia Report continues to look into where Sonny Perdue is placing his top aides, as the governor prepares to make his exit:
The latest twist involves the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC), a state agency that disburses federal grants to local police departments and coordinates programs involving local and state government agencies.
In 2005, Perdue appointed Molly Perry, who had been working with the Council for Superior Court Judges, as executive director of the CJCC. In his announcement of her appointment, Perdue said, “Molly Perry has always approached issues in a professional, balanced way and I have valued her advice over the years in her position with the Council for Superior Court Judges. I am confident that she will continue her commitment to public safety in her new role as executive director of the CJCC.”
Evidently, that “confidence” is now gone. Perry is being pushed out of her state job and Kenley Finlayson, who had been a division director with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, took over as the new CJCC director this week.
We asked the governor’s office why Perry, who Perdue had praised so highly when he appointed her to the CJCC job, was now being replaced.
“Molly Perry has been a passionate, dedicated head of the CJCC,” said Perdue’s communications director, Bert Brantley. “Kenley’s experience dealing with the different public safety agency budgets makes him a perfect fit for that position.”
Finlayson was paid $109,798 in his job at the Office of Planning and Budget. The salary for his new position is about $10,000 higher, according to state records.
Finlayson’s departure from OPB opened up a position at the budget agency. That enabled the shift of Misty Giles, who had been the public safety policy adviser to Perdue, to a job at OPB. Giles was paid $41,200 in fiscal year 2009 for her position on the governor’s staff.
“She is going to work in the public safety budgeting division, which makes sense because of her history of dealing exclusively with public safety policy issues,” Brantley said.
Another Perdue aide who has been “outsourced” to a state government job is Padgett “Pat” Wilson, a former Jack Abramoff associate who was hired as a government relations director and federal lobbyist by Perdue in 2005.
Wilson was named deputy commissioner for global commerce at the state Department of Economic Development last month. That job had been held by another former Perdue aide, Heidi Green, who is now the department’s commissioner.
Wilson’s salary in fiscal year 2009 was $93,730. Green, the person he replaces in his new job, was paid $123,600 in fiscal year 2009 (the commissioner’s job she was promoted to carries a salary of $140,000).
Bert Brantley, spokesman for the governor, adds this about the aides being moved:
In many cases, they are being paid a lower salary than the person that vacated the position.
So, between the lowered salary and not replacing them in the Governor’s Office, the net result is a significant cost savings for the state.