Your morning jolt: A one-man investigation, and a request for whistle-blower status

State Rep. Keith Heard, D-Athens, has been busy. Walter Jones of Morris News Service had this earlier in the week:

The state’s second-newest department is facing personnel problems and a one-man investigation by a veteran legislator at the same time it’s attempting a major shift in how it delivers services to mental patients across Georgia.

Officials at at the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities say nothing sinister has occurred. But it hasn’t satisfied Rep. Keith Heard.

So far, he has uncovered the payment of 46 bonuses ranging from $1,034 to $22,000 given to employees for taking jobs as lowly as filing clerk all the way up to commissioner. All were paid outside of the state’s normal procedures….

And he’s raising questions about outside consulting done by the commissioner. What else is there, and how are patients affected?

One thing that comes next is a state employee, one Elizabeth Hurst, seeking formal whistle-blower status. Her request, which can be read in full here, alleges:

[The agency] suspended and demoted her for (1) making protected disclosures regarding a coworker’s unlawful workplace activity and (2) for disclosing to her supervisor various Department violations of, and noncompliance with, Georgia laws and regulations.

In part, Ms. Hurst uncovered the following: improper use of Department funds, excessive billing practices and violations of various state policies, all of which resulted in substantial waste and fraud. These violations were later brought to the attention of persons with authority to take corrective actions. None were taken, though.

Instead, the Department initiated frivolous investigations, suspended Ms. Hurst, and then [demoted] her with a 10 percent pay cut.

***
The effort to push next year’s transportation sales tax in metro Atlanta has lost its spokeswoman. From Channel 2 Action News:

***
On the national front, Newt Gingrich is gaining support in New Hampshire, but lags behind front-runner Mitt Romney who holds 41 percent of likely voters in his camp, according to a Suffolk University/7NEWS (WHDH TV) poll of likely voters in that state’s GOP presidential primary.

Newt Gingrich jumped from 4 percent to 14 percent, and all other candidates were in single digits: Jon Huntsman (9 percent), Herman Cain (8 percent), Rick Santorum (3 percent), Rick Perry (2 percent) and Michele Bachmann (1 percent).

The survey also asked respondents – in an open question — why they thought Romney has had trouble closing the sale with GOP voters. The New Hampshire GOP is considered less dominated by evangelical voters than other early states such as Iowa and South Carolina.

Nonetheless, the top answer was surprising:

– 16 percent: Because of his Mormon religion

– 10 percent: Flip-flops on issues

– 10 percent: His health care plan

– 10 percent: Too many other candidates right now

– 9 percent: Not conservative enough

– 3 percent: He is boring

– 3 percent: People are unsure of him

– 2 percent: Not a real Republican

– 2 percent: Because he is from Massachusetts

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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76 comments Add your comment

Hilton Spence

November 22nd, 2011
9:46 am

What a bunch of losers. I can’t believe citizens would vote for
those self-righteous candidates like Santorum or Bachman.
WOW, what kind of world do they live in? I just hope one of these
candidate’s children will come out of the closet one day.
I’d love to see the look on Santorum or Bachman’s face. She would get on
her knees and just pray the gay away.
I don’t know why they remain in the race – not a chance in hell.

nelsonhoward

November 22nd, 2011
9:50 am

Nowhere in American History has there been a greater “turnaround guy” He turned around as President and CEO of they Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City Utah. Restored confidence and balanced the books and made it profitable.
As CEo of Bain Capital he put financing behind Staples and Dominoes.
There is not a more capable person for fixing and turning around federal government and reducing the deficit, a real proven leader.
What are the populace waiting for, national bankruptcy before they close ranks behind a great American. Mitt Romney, “the turnaround guy”

Centrist

November 22nd, 2011
9:51 am

Some pretty flimsy reasons not to vote for Romney – so I expect he will overcome most and be the nominee.

cartoon

November 22nd, 2011
9:55 am

When you relflect upon Michele Bachmann’s delivery, with that implacable, stone cold, witch’s teet of a face, and that make-my-day anticipation in her eyes as she listens to reporter’s questions, you realize that she is an unelectable pitbull of the barely feminine persuasion. And you can conclude that her candidacy’s existence is an accurate reflection of the Tea Party’s win-or-destroy campaign tactics.

Obama for four more years. The opposition is just not civilized enough.

cartoon

November 22nd, 2011
9:58 am

Romney’s deer-in-the-headlight delivery is Obama’s campaign manager. Conclusion: unelectable, yes, but he is tall, dark and handsome, and will serve as the perfect partner for Michele Bachmann when they both appear on “Dancing with the Losers”.

Jay M.

November 22nd, 2011
9:59 am

The second part of this article is factually misleading. Jim says that “all other candidates were in single digits” but Ron Paul is actually tied with Newt Gingrich in the poll at 14%. See http://www.suffolk.edu/49736.html for the actual poll results.

mem

November 22nd, 2011
10:08 am

Staples and Domino’s are all well and good, but how many businesses that Bain took over didn’t turn a profit of failed? Don’t forget that whether the Bain purchases succeeded or failed, Romney walked away richer. We’re told that small businesses are the engines of our economy but how many small businesses have folded because of these megastores?

deegee

November 22nd, 2011
10:20 am

You thought the top answer was surprising?!?!? A little over 20 percent of the likely voters surveyed think that a boring Mormon from Massachusetts is unacceptable presidential material. This country is screwed.

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
10:53 am

Good job Newt keep up the good work.

Sean Smith

November 22nd, 2011
11:17 am

All the republicans want to do is cut taxes on the wealthy who are already sucking up a gross amount of our resources and cut benefits for social security and medicare.

We have tried tax cuts for the wealthy for the last 9 years and it has gotten us huge deficits and massive job loss. Its time to go back to the Clinton era tax levels and balance the budget.

Cutting social security will just put more people into poverty, in my small town there are already dozens of elderly who have to go to the food bank because social security is to meager, and they want to cut it more. WTF how sick and greedy of the few at the top.

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
11:22 am

Sean Smith…..Repubs want to keep taxes low for ALL americans. Go ahead and raise taxes on the wealthy and see what happens. HERE IS A QUESTION FOR YA! Why did Obama not raise those taxes on the wealthy when the dems had control of the House? Hmmmm I wonder why that is. If I remember correctly the DEMOCRAT President and the DEMOCRAT House extended the Bush tax cuts.

This is all class warfare do you not see that? Where is the Hope and Change everything has gotten worse by far.

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
11:23 am

Sean Smith….show me just one quote from any republican candidate that says they want to cut Social Security for seniors? IT DOESNT EXIST, you are just thrown Bullsh!t propaganda garbage out there hoping someone will take it. Us on the right prefer FACTS!

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
11:25 am

Bart…W was a two term president…something Obama will never be.

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
11:29 am

Hey Bart, watch this video…http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=bfd_1321923397

Now tell me your Lord Obama is not a LIAR!

OSAMA

November 22nd, 2011
11:35 am

@uga1999

folks like u said OBAMA couldnt be elected. how did that turn out

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
11:36 am

Osama….folks like me didnt support groups like Acorn. Can you say Fraud?

OSAMA

November 22nd, 2011
11:43 am

@uga

man i’m with you on this. when DUMB DUBYA was in office i orchestrated 9/11. with THAT muslim named HUSSEIN in the white peoples house i’m worm meat.

Smoke

November 22nd, 2011
11:43 am

To paraphrase: Many of those on the right may prefer facts, but they find distortion more effective. The Democratic (for those with writing and speaking impediments) controlled House did pass a bill that taxed the wealthy. However, after. GOP filibustering, literally crying on the floor, and a little help from Joe and Ben to keep the cuts for the then 2%’ers, the President got his party to salvage a compromise to keep unemployment and benefits for the middle and working class.

herman cain

November 22nd, 2011
11:45 am

hey folks remember me? last month i was the colored darling of the rightwing christian fanatics.now ya’ll treat me like a step child. i guess i WAS the flavor of the month. BLACK WALNUT ICE CREAM.

findog

November 22nd, 2011
11:47 am

So,
Newt with flame out next week according to schedule
Huntsman will be the next un-Mitt, unless they jump to Rick
If so Rick will implode by Christmas, leaving Huntsman
Call me crazy but I see Huntsman taking it

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
11:52 am

Smoke….nope not true. Democrats could have raised the taxes and choose not to. Great job OBama.

Keep buying into the class warefare that Obama is selling….it is ripping us all apart.

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
11:53 am

Findog….that is fine as long as none of them have the name Barack Hussein Obama.

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
11:56 am

it is HILARIOUS how you on the left want to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy and then you bit@h that jobs are going overseas! Great job. Economics 101.

liberalefty

November 22nd, 2011
11:57 am

@uga

nobody is ripping u apart, are u 12 yrs old or an adult. lol. u independent less government types whine more than little kids,lol.

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
11:58 am

liberalefty…..So where is the Hope and Change we were all promised. What about Obama lying about the debt deal. Why do you all continue to sold a bunch of magical beans and the beg for more?

liberalefty

November 22nd, 2011
12:02 pm

@uga

i’m satisfied with HOPE & CHANGE, but i dont need the government to make a decent living like you do. my life is pretty good. i know u hate to hear that

Smoke

November 22nd, 2011
12:04 pm

OK, if Obama is a Liar, then Newt, Boehner, McConnell, Kyl, Cain, Bachmann, Romney, etal must be board certified. The more I read the more I realize that selective memory and revisionist history are hallmarks of Dixiecrats. It is so easy to say Acorn (that was registration fraud) but forget actual voter fraud by Diebold, the Ohio Crossover, IND Sec. Of State, Sproul & Assoc. “Voters Outreach of America.”

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
12:05 pm

liberalefty……”satisfied” that is it? Satisfied? ” but i dont need the government to make a decent living like you do.” No but you apprently need the government to get a better education and learn grammar.

Great job of dodging the question……

HA!

liberalefty

November 22nd, 2011
12:15 pm

@uga

yep i’m satisfied. life is good, i have a great job. sorry that life is bad for you.

findog

November 22nd, 2011
12:19 pm

OSAMA, your fish food not worm meat

DUBYA BUSH

November 22nd, 2011
12:21 pm

@findog

he was my friend. SMH

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
12:22 pm

Liberalefty….yep me too. I am not one of the umemployed protesting at the OWS. Life is great. Couldnt be better that is why I dont have my hand out to the government asking for more handouts! Oh wait that would mean I was a democrat.

Travis McGee

November 22nd, 2011
12:22 pm

We’ve reached a point where the differences between us are not political or philosophical or indeological — but a matter of intelligence.

And, the voters will have to decide which is which.

But I sure question the intelligence of the party who is willing to bring the country down to its knees to protect tax cuts for the super wealthy and big business when the gap between rich and poor is at its highest level since the Great Depression.

Finally, the argument that tax cuts and removing regulations will enhance the economy and create jobs is spurious — only demand will create jobs and austerity that lays off hundreds of thousands of workers sure as heck won’t create the capacity for demand.

Like I say, it’s not a diference in party or philosophy or ideology — but of intelligence.

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
12:22 pm

Dubya Bush….OH I GET IT NOW…..Being a liar must come with being a democrat. I get it!

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
12:24 pm

Obama = Experiment FAILED!

Smoke

November 22nd, 2011
12:30 pm

Remind me of why the GOP got rid of Newt as Speaker?

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
12:33 pm

Smoke…the GOP didnt….you need a history lesson, son.

cartoon

November 22nd, 2011
12:34 pm

Newt was a criminal. Remember the illegal wiretapping? Newt is our Mussolini, okay?

liberalefty

November 22nd, 2011
12:37 pm

uga@12:22

if youre life is good then why are u complaining so much? lol

Smoke

November 22nd, 2011
12:37 pm

If you have a job and don’t think that governments don’t have either a direct or direct role in its exixtence, then you are a Dixiecrat. There is the six degrees of separation in life, but no more than three when it comes to the connection of government and jobs.

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
12:37 pm

cartoon…..time to wake up from cartoon world and step into reality. Is that why in nearly every current poll BOTH Romney OR Newt would beat Obama in an election today?

OSAMA

November 22nd, 2011
12:37 pm

OSAMA

November 22nd, 2011
12:39 pm

UGA12:24

OBAMA WAS SUCESSFUL IN GETTING ME,LOL

liberalefty

November 22nd, 2011
12:41 pm

I meant your 12:37

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
12:42 pm

Osama…no our beloved SEAL TEAM 6 was successful in getting you! Great job boys.

Mark

November 22nd, 2011
12:45 pm

@ UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
12:42 pm

Osama…no our beloved SEAL TEAM 6 was successful in getting you! Great job boys.

Typical republican comment….I’m sure you would have been praising GW

liberalefty

November 22nd, 2011
12:46 pm

@uga

and OBAMA gave the order and u conservatives hate it. ya’ll wanted the mission to go bad so you could blame OBAMA. sorry but it was sucessful. hows that envy working out fer ya?

liberalefty

November 22nd, 2011
12:47 pm

@mark

yeah they praise BUSH for being strong on defense! i gues they forget about 9/11

UGA 1999

November 22nd, 2011
12:47 pm

Mark….You assume way too much, as most of you always do. Nope I give all of that credit to our troops for putting their life on the line while our elected officials (Repub and Dem) sit in their nice offices. God bless our troops.

liberalefty

November 22nd, 2011
12:49 pm

uga

god bless our president