“Team Players” Wanted

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

It’s fair to say that Newnan Georgia’s Warren Budd is a mainstream, even “establishment” Republican. He was President of the University of Georgia Young Republicans during Barry Goldwater’s campaign. He’s served as Chairman of the Coweta County Republican Party and 1st Vice Chair of the 8th District GOP.

He also demonstrates Republican values in his daily life. He is a few years shy of his 50th wedding anniversary and the father of five. He began leading a young adult Sunday School class at Cornerstone United Methodist Church in 1991, and a Senate Resolution passed in 2003 honored his tenacity for the church’s annual barbecue because of his ticket sales and other work for the event.

He’s also known to be an avid outdoorsman and a respected conservationist. As such, Governor Sonny Perdue appointed him as the 8th District representative to the Board of the Department of Natural Resources. Though scheduled to become the boards Chairman this year, Governor Nathan Deal has chosen not to re-appoint Budd to the position.

Bud first ruffled feathers after pushing DNR officials to investigate a fish kill in the Ogeechee River. The responsible party ultimately paid $1 Million toward cleanup, but was able to avoid fines of potentially $93 Million. The matter seemed to begin an open conflict of business interests and the board which is charged with protecting Georgia’s natural resources.

Budd told the Atlanta Journal & Constitution “We talk about protecting business, but I talked to one bait-shop owner whose business was down 70 percent because of that fishkill. He’s a businessman too, and he wasn’t alone. A lot of people who make their living off that river were hurt.”

The breaking point between Deal and Budd appears to be Budd’s opposition to the Governor’s plan for multiple reservoirs in North Georgia to support Atlanta’s water needs and reduce dependence on Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River basin. Budd told GPTV “I was told by people on the inside that the reason I was not re-appointed was my opposition to building reservoirs north of Macon. If you’re not going to have a board members speak out and try to be activist in managing our natural resources in Georgia, you might as well not have a board.”

It appears, according to Deputy Chief of Staff and spokesperson Brian Robinson, that Budd is not a “team player”. While customary statements replacing an appointed official are generally written on boiler plate and include phrases like “We thank Mr. Budd for his service” or “The Governor looks forward for the opportunity of (insert name of person willing to rubber stamp an agenda here) to serve the people of Georgia”, Robinson is never one to miss an opportunity to spike the ball when making a point on behalf of his boss. As was the case when Robinson banned Atlanta’s Fox5 from a signing ceremony in retaliation for an unfavorable news story from their investigative reporter Dale Russell, Robinson prefers public, visible confrontation when asserting the rules, policies, and wishes of the Governor’s office.

Regarding Budd, he told the AJC, “If anyone on any board considers himself indispensable, this is what educators call a ‘teachable moment.’ It takes an eyebrow-raising amount of self-regard for someone to suggest publicly that, out of 10 million Georgians, only he or she brings a diverse viewpoint to a board.” Robinson then went on to explain that the remaining DNR board members are asking the Governor’s opinion, presumably to suggest what diverse opinions they should have.

Robinson, remember, is the spokesperson who has told us that there was no choice given Georgia’s budget cuts to reduce the State Ethics commission staff to two people, and cut the executive director’s pay by 30%, only to accept her resignation when she protested. We are to ignore that she had prepared subpoenas to investigate ethics complaints against the Governor. That’s not an action of a team player.

Just weeks later, Robinson’s girlfriend was elevated from scheduler to the state’s mental health Ombudsman, doubling her salary to $107,000. Clearly, it pays to know which team you’re on.

Robinson should at least be commended for his honesty, which is both arrogant and brutal but also refreshing in modern day political speak. He has clarified in one statement that anyone either appointed by Governor Deal or subject to his approval for reappointment is not allowed independent thought. When the governor wants their opinion, he will tell them what it is. There is only one team, loyalty is more important than honesty, and if you think anything different you’re not on the team. Any illusion of independence has been shattered. A teachable moment indeed.

27 comments

  1. troutbum70 says:

    Just like I’m sure there was nothing to that impending ethics investigation about to take place on Capital Hill the night he resigned to “run for governor.”

    • CobbGOPer says:

      You mean the “Democratic People’s Republic of Georgia”? Let’s face it, our politicians are just the same Democrats that used to be in charge, under a new party label. And they still run things like the Democrats used to. New boss, same as the old. It’s why I have stopped bothering to vote in these statewide farces anymore.

  2. Three Jack says:

    Robinson has worked for Westmoreland, Gingrey and now Deal. If he adds one more ahole loser to his list of political employers, he will qualify for the Bob Shrum Lifetime Achievement Award.

  3. Samuel says:

    Please remember all of these sage comments when Shady Deal chooses to run for re-election in 2014 & he will run for re-election as long as his favorable (bailout) bank loans remain in place!

  4. saltycracker says:

    Reservoirs seems like a good approach but sometimes what sounds good attracts the exploiters to seize the day from incompetent overseers – call the City of Canton and ask how the reservoir thing is going………

    Rule 1. Follow the money
    Rule 2. To the victor belong the spoils

    “Lobbyists, lawyers, engineers and real estate interests are all at the front of the line to receive the funds set forth under this program,” said Sally Bethea, Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. “People with strong records as campaign contributors stand to benefit from this proposal long before any water flows from any of the projects so hopefully contemplated.”

    From the below article:

    ATLANTA – The costs for two planned reservoirs in Dawson and Hall counties are singled out as a state water conservation group attacks the governor’s water supply program, saying it ignores water conservation funding.

    The Georgia Water Coalition (GWC) says the $300 million Governor Deal has dedicated to increasing the state’s water supplies will not support the most cost-effective projects available to local communities and, when all is said and done, may not secure one drop of new water.

    The coalition notes that construction of the Glades Reservoir in Hall County and the Shoal Creek Reservoir in Dawson County, alone, will cost a combined $950 million.

    http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=243956

    • CobbGOPer says:

      “The Georgia Water Coalition (GWC) says the $300 million Governor Deal has dedicated to increasing the state’s water supplies will not support the most cost-effective projects available to local communities and, when all is said and done, may not secure one drop of new water.

      That’s because securing water isn’t the goal of the governor’s water plan; the goal is lining the pockets of as many of his good ‘ole boys as possible.

  5. cheapseats says:

    and we should be celebrating the coming super-majority…well, a few people should be celebrating it. They’ll be doing it on my dime.

  6. Doug Grammer says:

    Sorry Charlie, but I agree with Todd on this one. There are better ways to make the change, but if Gov. Deal wants reservoirs, then he’s entitled to appoint people who agree with him and who will work to that end.

    I’m sure Warren Budd is a fine man, but he’s not on the same page.

    There are other things that could be done, but at least he’s trying to take steps to fix a water problem in Georgia. I read the AccessNorthGa.com link and it looked like a lot of people complaining because the money isn’t being spent the way that THEY want. Isn’t it typical that when budgets are cut, the special interest groups who are getting money squeal very loudly if it’s no longer coming their way?

    “A March 2011 study conducted by Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper has shown that metro Atlanta communities could secure as much as 160 million gallons a day by fixing leaking pipes, replacing water wasting plumbing fixtures and appliances and by improving the way that water is priced “

    I’m fine with most of that until it gets to “The way that water is priced.” In other words, keep doing what we want, and then pay us more?

      • saltycracker says:

        Something is seriously wrong with the price of water, particularly in metro Atlanta.

        Replacing inefficient appliances and leaks might help but third world personal conservation is a reverse direction. Most folks balk at turning the water on & off while showering or brushing their teeth or turning the basement into a cistern. Or living on enough land to put in a well.

        A factor might be in subsidizing development.
        A factor might be in the out of control costs & influences in building reservoirs.
        A factor might be in lack of controls on runoff polution.
        A factor might be inefficiently run water & sewer companies or bureaucractic authorities.

        A full page of issues can be listed on the last factor alone.

    • Ken says:

      Hi Doug,

      I don’t think it’s that Governor Deal wants reservoirs, it’s where he wants them. It seems Budd wanted them more geographically diverse.

      I don’t know all of the pros and cons, but if Budd was “fired” then my immediate thought is that, for some reason, the Governor is inordinately insistent that they be in North Georgia. Why?

      Is there a cost-benefit analysis that points that way or is it a personal preference or is it something to do with personal benefit? The question has to be asked. Does anyone know?

  7. Dave Bearse says:

    “It takes an eyebrow-raising amount of self-regard for someone to suggest publicly that, out of 10 million Georgians, only he or she brings a diverse viewpoint to a board.”

    That stuck in my crawl when I first read about this matter in the AJC. The problem with that assertion is that Budd didn’t claim to be the only one.

  8. Dave Bearse says:

    As concerns the Ethics Commission, Milsaps never did recuse himself as he said he would, and the matter has been dismissed.

    Keep them Deal campaign contibutions. coming. Denise Deal needs her cut.

  9. Dave Bearse says:

    So let me get this straight. He fired or forced out the personnel attempting to bring the matter to the Board, and as Chairman presumably controls the Board agenda, but didn’t have to recuse himself because it never got to the Board.

      • Todd Rehm says:

        I believe that your account of what happened is at odds with the actual course of events.

        The Commission was forced into a budget crisis by legislative changes. Once in that crisis, they had two people who accounted for more than 50% of the salaries. I guess they could have gotten rid of the people who keep the website and filing system running. Would that have been more to your liking?

        • Dave Bearse says:

          No, concerning the website and filling.

          So what exactly what happened to draft subpeonas presented to Milsaps? Did they make it to the Board?

          And speaking of Milspas, what has he been saying publicly about funding? He’s supposed to be independent you know.

          He’s either unable or unwilling to criticize those he’s supposed to be regulating. In the disposition of complaints it appears that like the DNR Board, he’s responsible to the Governor.

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