Your morning jolt: Nathan Deal on the next DOT chief

My AJC colleague Ariel Hart had a revealing game of cat-and-mouse with Gov. Nathan Deal on Thursday, over the topic of who might replace the exiting Vance Smith as head of the state Department of Transportation:

Q: Do you have a preference for who ought to be the next GDOT commissioner?

Deal: No, I hope that they will come up with someone that’s qualified, and has an experience factor of being able to deal with difficult problems.

Q: Have you suggested anyone to (the DOT board)?

Deal: I have suggested that there may be some existing state employees who might be considered, but this is their decision and we’re going to watch and see what they do.

Q: Would that be Steve Stancil (who is executive director of the Georgia Building Authority)?

Deal: Well, Steve Stancil is someone that we think has done an excellent job in his current position and I think possesses the kind of qualities that you would be looking for.

Q: You suggested him?

Deal: (chuckling) I think I’ll leave it at that.

***
Purely by coincidence, the Georgia Building Authority that Steve Stancil heads has decided to pull the rug out from under Gov. Nathan Deal. Literally.

Writes Dave Williams of the Atlanta Business Chronicle:

In the “times are tough” category, the agency that oversees state buildings is looking to sell a rug that has graced the Governor’s Mansion for four decades.

The [GBA] has posted a notice on the state’s procurement site asking for brokers interested in selling the rug to submit a “letter of interest” to the agency.

The rug, which has been part of the mansion’s décor since 1970, originally cost more than $35,000.

***
We’ve no details, but we’re told GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be in Atlanta on Monday to raise a little cash.

***
As has become a long habit, former President Jimmy Carter appeared before the incoming freshman class at Emory University this week. Highlights can be seen below:

Carter on Sarah Palin:

“I think she was an acceptable governor of Alaska for two years.”

Carter on the Republican field:

”I don’t think there’s any doubt that Governor Perry from Texas is in the leadership. I’ve seen some of the exchanges between him and some of the other Republican candidates. At this point, I think he’s the most likely one of the existing candidates to be the Republican nominee….

“I think he’s been particularly mistaken at some of the radical positions he has maintained and repeated during the debates. I think it’s going to hurt him in the general election against President Obama, although it might help him within the Republican party environment.”

And on whether the GOP is sabotaging President Barack Obama in order to win the White House in 2012:

”I wouldn’t that be condemnatory of the Republicans. I know a lot of them. My belief is they would like very much to see the economy to recover. Under which circumstances they would like very much to figure out a way for them to get credit for it.”

***
The Marietta Daily Journal and InsiderAdvantage are out this morning with a poll that shows banker and CPA John Carson has a slim lead in next Tuesday’s five-candidate special election to fill the seat held by the late state Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Marietta. From the MDJ:

Former state Sen. Robert Lamutt, who is trailing Carson by less than the poll’s margin of error, is leading the race in fundraising.

The phone survey, conducted on Tuesday by InsiderAdvantage/RosettaStone, asked, “If the election for state representative were to be held today, for whom would you vote?”

Of the 356 people polled, 19.8 percent chose John Carson, 17.3 percent said Lamutt, 11.6 percent said Roy C. Barnes, 11.4 percent said Dr. Geraldine Wade and 4.9 percent said Don Hill.

Thirty-five percent had no opinion.

***
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at U.S. Rep. David Scott’s contention that President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill would put an end to the layoffs of teachers and law enforcement officers and firefighters.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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52 comments Add your comment

mike 'hussein' smith

September 16th, 2011
10:37 am

Nathan Deal on DOT: “We’re going to watch and see what they do.” That’s leadership for ya.

td

September 16th, 2011
10:50 am

I love when people get on these blogs that do not have a clue how the State Constitution has set up the different agencies to run and those people thank they are going to get a dig in at someone in leadership. Who looks like the fool now?

Centrist

September 16th, 2011
10:59 am

Only the liberal media is interested in what former President Carter thinks politically – especially when it comes to Republicans.

It's All Dikkksie Now!

September 16th, 2011
11:08 am

Speakuh Glen (the Gland) Richardson is available and knows the workings of state govt. Jawja loves him too!

Jim, what about McGinness’ book on Sister Sarah Palin. She may have some trouble with her Dikkksie constituency when and if the Glen Rice story and the “Mogambo fixation” enters their little brains. Maybe Bishop Eddie (HOW LONG?!?!) Long can tell her how to slide by the dimwits (on the downlow).

Seems both are members of the Cult of the Giant Black Snake.

Dacula 1995

September 16th, 2011
11:13 am

Not a very interesting topic today, sir.

Ga Values

September 16th, 2011
11:16 am

A vote for Perry is a vote to reelect OBAMA. The question is can our country take 4 more years of OBAMA?

KID

September 16th, 2011
11:25 am

Obama all the way in 2012!

DannyX

September 16th, 2011
11:29 am

Perry has proven he is a LEADER. He was a CheerLEADER in college. A very good, flamboyant CheerLEADER with lots of charm.

Gov Perry is responsible for the rain shower that parched areas of Texas got yesterday, payoff from His pray for rain prayer fest back in April. That is a LEADER.

Give me an (R)…2012

Dacula 1995

September 16th, 2011
11:41 am

39% approval rating….Obama is doing a great job of working his way out of a job!!! GREAT!

brad

September 16th, 2011
11:48 am

And Centrist, absolutely nobody is interested in what YOU think politically.

Retired Solider

September 16th, 2011
11:53 am

Brad-

Wrong, I enjoy Centrist’s posts.

Time for Reform

September 16th, 2011
11:56 am

The DOT Board has become dysfunctional. 13 and soon to be 14 cooks in the kitchen are too many. The board was a good idea back when we were divvying up motor fuel funds to build state highways, but transportation has evolved. The DOT board has not. A bunch of has-been politicians sit on it and act as if they understand transportation.

Ben E. Henn

September 16th, 2011
11:58 am

Could we remain on the Steve Stancil subject? We tend to wander about on Friday for unknown reasons.

R U Kidding Me?

September 16th, 2011
11:58 am

Georgia is still paying the price over at GDOT for the political battle between Sonny Perdue and Glenn Richardson over hiring a commissioner. The first battle was over Perdue’s girl Gena Evans, who was acomplete and utter train wreck. After the GDOT board fired her, the second battle was over Richardson’s choice of Vance Smith as Commissioner.
So now, Georgia has had 5 DOT Commissioners in 4 years and transportation continues to fall behind because of petty politics. Now Deal wants to put another political hack at GDOT in Steve Stancil. The word is that deal fell apart because Stancil wanted a 3-year contract at the government trough. Make that utter disaster #3 in a row.
Here’s a novel idea. How about the GDOT Board going out and find the best, most qualified transportation expert in the country to come clean up the mess in Georgia. Forget political favors, and political pay backs, Go hire somebody that can come fix this mess and stop hiring political re-treads with no experience in transportation. Stancil is a nice guy, but not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. And he doesn’t know flip about transportation.

Bob

September 16th, 2011
11:58 am

While I don’t always agree with “Centrist”, I do enjoy his opinions. Afterall, this board is where we can all voice our opinions and ideas.

The General

September 16th, 2011
12:01 pm

Didn’t Gena Abraham come from the Georgia Building Authority? What, is the GBA the farm team for GDOT chiefs?

The General

September 16th, 2011
12:04 pm

@ R U Kidding Me?

You are so correct with everything you posted.

Centrist

September 16th, 2011
12:04 pm

@ brad – feel free to skip over my posts when you see my monicker. I do the same for several posters here.

@ Retired Soldier and Bob – thanks. It would really be boring if we always agreed, and certainly gets old when we never agree with certain posters.

Ben E. Henn

September 16th, 2011
12:06 pm

Question for all you brilliant and opinionated guys. What does the Dekalb School Board, DOT board and the Keystone Cops all have in common?

Ben E. Henn

September 16th, 2011
12:12 pm

Give up? Well, they’re all a bunch of Chag Koffs!

Retired Solider

September 16th, 2011
12:14 pm

Centrist-

We agree most of the time, when we don’t I forgive you for being wrong!

DannyX

September 16th, 2011
12:19 pm

“Only the liberal media is interested in what former President Carter thinks politically – especially when it comes to Republicans.”

Doesn’t seem like a person that values different opinions does it Centrist?

Centrist

September 16th, 2011
12:29 pm

@ Retired Soldier – My wife says there are always two sides to a story. Her side, and the wrong side.

We only have 2 rules in our house:

#1. The wife is always right.

#2. When the wife is wrong, see rule 1.

Retired Solider

September 16th, 2011
12:30 pm

Have the same rules here. Dang those women.

Centrist

September 16th, 2011
12:32 pm

@ DannyX – I, like most people, don’t value ALL opinions. Only valid ones.

Jackets '10

September 16th, 2011
12:43 pm

I would like to see a 3rd party hired to take on this monumental task. I had a professor who worked for GDOT and left because it was a complete and utter trainwreck from top to bottom.

markie mark

September 16th, 2011
12:52 pm

@ Mike….hey guy, do your homework. This is not part of the governors job, and if he went out and advocated someone, it would be reported that he “was influencing a department that he had no business influencing”. This was a no-win gotcha question from start to finish….

Road Scholar

September 16th, 2011
1:02 pm

The General: You are correct. And Steve Stancil, who led GRTA at that time was asked…no told… he would go to lead the GBA to clean up Gena’s mess there! He would be an excellent choice. Are the legislators that smart? GDOT Board Members?

Of the 5 contractors selected/qualified to bid the Design Build contract in Savannah, 2 of them have Georgia offices and have done substantial work in Georgia…they just happen to be a branch of firms whose corporate headquarters are out of state.The boardmembers said they fired Comm. Smith becaus none were from Georgia! They wanted one from Georgia! I expect the current board chairman will try to put his man in charge.

Road Scholar

September 16th, 2011
1:04 pm

markie mark: How do you think its done…the governor has had his choice since Rives.

Jack

September 16th, 2011
1:20 pm

Jimmy needs to stay in Plains and Deal shouldn’t sponsor anybody for anything.

November 6, 2012

September 16th, 2011
1:46 pm

Carter on Sarah Palin:

“I think she was an acceptable governor of Alaska for two years.”

November 6, 2012 on Jimmy Carter – I think you were an unacceptable governor of “The Great State of Georgia” for FOUR Years and an extremely unacceptable president of “The United States of America” for FOUR Years – Jimmy, four and four = Eight years of unacceptability, please shut up.

findog

September 16th, 2011
1:49 pm

td, short memory
politicians don’t care what thew Georgia constitution says
the governor and legislature influence selections to lead every board, especially those that pay more than the governor…

Halftrack

September 16th, 2011
1:55 pm

We don’t need a political hack for the job. The GDOT has been broken into 2 groups. One can not serve 2 masters. The legislature needs to put GDOT back under 1 CEO. Purdue ruined the GDOT. It used to be an efficient organization. It really needs some study and be a “bona fide” Transportation Dept.

honested

September 16th, 2011
2:16 pm

Halftrack,

But sonny had his new trucking company to worry about.
The heck with the rest of us!

George GATL

September 16th, 2011
2:31 pm

I bet you the poll was conducted before Robert Lamutt’s tax evasion came to light. He owes the government 0ver $135,000 in back taxes! In addition, Lamutt is trying to short sell his home and stick it to the bank which loaned him money on his home.

This man is beyond belief in that he really wants to represent Cobb County but can not pay his taxes.

Sorry but the numbers do not add up for Lamutt to be a elected member of our taxing body (the General Assembly)

Laurie

September 16th, 2011
2:38 pm

GDOT should hire someone who has experience in transportation this time. Novel idea, yes?

DannyX

September 16th, 2011
2:46 pm

“I bet you the poll was conducted before Robert Lamutt’s tax evasion came to light.”

I have a hunch you are right. Lamutt’s tax problems prove to Republican voters that he should not be trusted, which of course makes him the clear favorite now. If that poll were taken today I’m sure it would show Lamutt with a big lead. I picture Lamutt heading up the House Tax committee soon.

Centrist

September 16th, 2011
3:08 pm

Personal economics is certainly fair game in evaluating election candidates. Purposely calling it “tax evasion” is partisan politics. Here are the facts:

He had unpaid quarterly and unemployment taxes owed by his business and entities. He says he has worked out a payment plan with the IRS and is currently paying off the debts.

Lamutt said he had 15 employees at Diversified Assets Management who “were family” and has stated: “Like virtually everybody in commercial real estate, we got to the point where we had more taxes than we had income. I was advised to go ahead and bankrupt the company, fire all employees and start over. I could have gone bankrupt and walked away from everything and everybody, but I worked out a payment plan and paid back the companies we owed.”

As to his house and possible short sale – it sounds like downsizing to avoid bankruptcy and would only be done with the mortgager’s permission.

DannyX

September 16th, 2011
3:09 pm

“Purposely calling it “tax evasion” is partisan politics.”

LMAO!

Centrist

September 16th, 2011
3:30 pm

Yep – Republicans tried it with Secretary of the Treasury Geitner, and it didn’t stick either.

Paddy O

September 16th, 2011
3:44 pm

For those of you who think GA transportation is a wreck: 1) You have an excellent interstate system; you have one of the very best state highway systems; 2) You have the busiest airport in the country; 3) You have one of the busiest & best economic engines in the nation in the Savannah Port.

You don’t have a good mass transit system. Why? Most folks don’t want it AND you do NOT have the population density to support it without massive subsidies (ie increased taxes). Vance Smith was in way over his head. I hope they hire somebody like Harold Linnenkohl again. Engineer Ross would probably do a good job, if interested.

Real American

September 16th, 2011
5:33 pm

Of course as long as he is white, male and rep he has the job, this is georgia

double

September 16th, 2011
6:09 pm

Centrist opinion R yea-D nay…..

The General

September 16th, 2011
6:22 pm

How about Todd Long to head up GDOT?

Watermenondria

September 16th, 2011
7:51 pm

“As has become a long habit, former President Jimmy Carter appeared before the incoming freshman class at Emory University…”

It is wildly inappropriate for new college students to be subjected to a left-oriented political speech by this failed former president.

Regarding Robert Lamutt

September 16th, 2011
7:56 pm

It kind of looks like Robert Lamutt got the Governor to hold a quick special election, against the wishes of most in Cobb.

Now I would suspect that Governor Deal has a tremendous amount of pity for him since he appears to be in the same sort of situation. I kind am led to believe he pulled a major favor and thought a quick election would not expose the numerous lawsuits and liens against him.

The Bottom line question: How do we elect a leader to oversee our tax monies, when he owes over $135,000? While I am sorry for Mr. Lamutt, his business dealings do not reflect someone who claims to be an expert on fiscal policy on his campaign web page.

Lamutt’s social conservative policies, although appealing to many voters in the 43 and myself, do not alone give him the moral compass to provide oversight for our state’s tax money.

I say he should prove he is an expert – get his company in order, then after proving successful come back another time and offer himself for public service.

Kay

September 16th, 2011
10:41 pm

@R U, I totally agree that Gena Evans was a total train wreck. TOTAL. But I also agree with Time for Reform that the DOT Board is completely ineffective. As for Steve Stancil, if what you say is correct, who can blame the man for wanting a contract given the fact that the Board boots out the commish every couple of years.

And why would “the best, most qualified transportation expert” come work for a Board comprised of mostly ex-politicians who don’t seem to know what or who they want?

Kay

September 16th, 2011
11:14 pm

@Halftrack, GDOT is down 1500 employees from 3 years ago yet they’re churning out the same amount of work. That would, I think, be considered pretty darn efficient.

double

September 17th, 2011
1:30 am

I do not think President Carter a failure.Governor,president,writer.builder,understands plight Palestinian people.Good Honorable,Religious man.

Road Scholar

September 17th, 2011
5:52 am

Kay: Not quite. Add to that the numerous consultants and subtract the money from reduced gas tax revenue and money which now must be held to fully pay for projects at their beginning of construction. They swept all future payments for active projects back to the treasurer to accumulate the needed money. A few years ago they let $2.4 B to contract in a year…now it is down to less than $1 B. Maintenance is only overlaying 2.5% of state routes; before they overlaid 10% each year. Also the level of expertise of staff is way down. I am not saying that staff are not doing their jobs,or that they are not dedicated, but the money is short.