That Guy Hired To Instill Confidence In The Ethics Commission? Fired From His Last State Job 5 Months Ago

January 7, 2014 8:44 am

by Charlie · 7 comments

Damn.  Just damn people.

The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission , a/k/a the “Ethics Commission” needs a new name.  One that evokes imagery of the Keystone Cops.  Reduced last month to having to hire an outside receiver to instill confidence, the man hired is now under fire after the AJC has learned that he was removed from his last job – a state job as an administrative law judge complete with six figure salary – for “failure to meet performance expectations.”  Again, just damn.

Robert Constantine was removed in August from a $100,000-a-year post with the state Board of Workers’ Compensation, personnel records show. Two commission members told the AJC on Monday that they knew Constantine had been dismissed from the judgeship but said they remained confident in his leadership.

“He’s the right person to try and help straighten out the ethics commission,” Commissioner Lawton Jordan said.

Not everyone agreed. Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, one of the leading advocates for strengthening the state’s ethics laws and giving the commission the tools it needs, called Constantine’s firing “cause for concern.”

“It’s something I’d want to know more about, about the circumstances,” McKoon said. “I think alarmed is a fair description.”

The legislature convenes on Monday and everyone will be watching their stopwatches to see how quickly they can adjourn.  Usually, that would be considered a good thing.  That said, it is time to put a stake through the heart of this agency and start over.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

peachpundit (@peachpundit) January 7, 2014 at 8:44 am

New post: That Guy Hired To Instill Confidence In The Ethics Commission? Fired From His Last State Job 4 Month http://t.co/qMr0Bhbilw #

Dave Bearse January 7, 2014 at 9:37 am

What of appearance? Not an issue in Georgia where legal = ethical .

Napoleon January 7, 2014 at 9:40 am

Just because you sucked at one thing doesn’t mean you suck at everything. “Failure to meet performance standards” is pretty broad. Now tell me that failure was because he was caught stealing office supplies, then, yeah, not the right match for an “ethics” commission.

xdog January 7, 2014 at 9:47 am

At least Constantine has kept the staff squabbling out of the papers.

I continue to believe the Ethics Commission is a great political flashpoint for Deal and he would benefit from asking for the resignations of all commissioners. They’ve shown their ideas of oversight are limited to throwing up their hands and asking for help to do their jobs. Well, that and reducing their master’s fine from $70K to $3500. But that’s well past now and it makes sense for Deal to find some new incompetent lackeys before he has to defend the current ones on the stump.

Charlie January 7, 2014 at 9:50 am

Let’s assume he were to take that step.

Then who gets to appoint the new commissioners? Governor Deal.

Now let’s take a moment….and now let’s imagine what the press release out of the DPG would look like after Deal sacks and replaces all commissioners of the agency….

Not going to happen. Politically, can’t happen.

xdog January 7, 2014 at 10:47 am

I disagree. Sure, inertia is the normal course for incumbents but the commission is busted and it’s hanging around Deal’s neck. If he is lucky he only has to endure a few more depositions and subpoenas before November. If things really go south for him he’ll have grand jury findings or indictments to finesse, and at least with a new board he could fall back on the ‘we’ve made needed changes’ defense.

Naming ‘new incompetent lackeys’ would guide the conversation for a while and give him ammunition against attacks regarding the old board’s incompetence and dependency. He’d be ‘revitalizing the commission’, ‘insisting on the highest standards of professionalism’, ‘looking out for the interests of the people of Georgia’, instead of having to explain why he continues to employ people who admit they need help to do their jobs.

It would be a politically tough action to take but revamping the board in the middle of a hurried lege session would give him a lot of cover and he has plenty of allies to help him over the rough spots. I know it’s not long to the primary and general and that makes delay/inaction appealing but if things blow up he’ll have more than DPG press releases to worry about.

taylor January 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm

The Governor only appoints three of the members. Probably shouldn’t ask for the resignations of those not appointed by him.