AJC: End stealth vote for DOT board

There is an editorial over at the AJC on elections for the GDOT board.

The General Assembly convenes Monday, and soon thereafter lawmakers in the various congressional districts will meet and vote in private to pick their respective DOT board members.

Granted, many Georgians don’t know or care who represents them on the DOT board. But they should. The DOT is one of the state’s largest and most important agencies, and its decisions on where to build a highway or whether to launch commuter rail service affect millions of Georgians.

Furthermore, the influential construction and development industries and their lobbying groups know exactly who the board members are, and in fact have a history of wining and dining them.

Historically, candidates for the board tend to be former lawmakers, well-connected businessmen, developers and assorted local politicos. Not surprisingly, given the money and power at stake, internal politicking for the job can be fierce.

However, the secretive balloting process is dictated not by law but by practice. Legislators in each congressional district could, if they choose, vote to cast their ballots in public, just as they cast any other vote. But they stubbornly refuse to do so.

At the end of the article there is a list of the members of the General Assembly from the 7th Congressional District and their phone numbers.

Interestingly enough Emory Morsberger, one of the developers pushing the “Brain Train,” has sent a letter to members of that delegation declaring his candidacy for their GDOT seat.

[UPDATE] I’ve been told that Morsberger has withdrawn his candidacy, but is backing another candidate.

5 comments

  1. This is silly. We should vote openly for DOT Board members. I have made this motion before – and lost. Legislators have to vote red or green every day during the session and this is a key position. I hope members will change this practice.

  2. Bill Arp says:

    Senator Johnson – I applaud your integrity. He is right…..how can we hold our elected official accountable if we do not know how they vote…this was a stupid idea that was furthered under Bobby Kahn (and probably promoted by Bill Simon) and should be cast out……

  3. Josh D Ondich says:

    Senator Johnson,
    How about the legislature divides the GDOT into districts, then allow voters in each GDOT district pick their GDOT board offical every 4 years. I do not believe state senators or state officals should be appointing officals to officals without approval of voters.

  4. Trackboy1 says:

    This really goes back to the decades of Democratic control of the state house and senate.

    They vote in secret because they are cowards..it’s that simple. There was a recent vote in DeKalb. One of the candidates who lost had over ten different polticians say they voted for him, which was impossible since he lost.

    Sniveling cowards…and can’t blame Repub’s. Dem’s enabled this crap, and this is all on them.

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