Sometimes you wonder if Georgia’s political leadership stays awake at night pondering ways to make state government look foolish, or if it has been that way for so long it just comes naturally.
In either case, here we go again.
Facing the biggest financial crisis in decades, with jobs disappearing by the thousands, homes foreclosed upon in record numbers, businesses closing and bankruptcy courts booming, state leaders picked now as the time to implode the Department of Transportation.
Timing is everything.
On the one hand you have Gov. Sonny Perdue and legislative leaders pushing for a totally revamped structure that would remove much of the power and authority of the existing DOT board and create a different transportation bureaucracy.
And on the other you’ve got the existing state DOT board firing the department’s commissioner primarily because she kept telling board members they didn’t have money they insisted on spending anyway. And oh yeah, she was the governor’s choice for the job to start with, so there’s also some political retribution involved.
Comments made by DOT board members after the firing of Commissioner Gena Evans last week made one thing obvious — they faulted her for pointing out the huge deficit the department continues to build, and for stopping road projects for which the state didn’t have the money to pay.
The DOT board’s actions might lend credence to the need for a new organizational structure of some sort, but the mad rush to pass the governor’s proposal for revamping the system is too much, too fast and with far too little dialogue and discussion. It’s amazing that a body like the state’s
General Assembly, which can appoint study committees to discuss totally inane issues for months at a time, can conversely move forward with lightning speed on an issue that totally restructures a vital government function.
Not to mention the fact that there already are those questioning the constitutionality of the plan to revamp DOT and the power shift that it entails.
So, here we are in the midst of the biggest financial crisis in decades, and the state DOT is in a shambles without clear direction on how it’s going to operate or who is going to be in charge.
The DOT Commission-er’s post is vacant, and you have to wonder who would want the job considering the situation. And the General Assembly seems poised to approve sweeping changes that have seen little discussion outside the closed doors of the political inner sanctum.
And we wonder why people laugh at our state government.