Political Notes – Roberts, Bethel head GHSA oversight committee

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We are once again in the midst of a high school football season in Georgia, so it’s obviously the right time to be announcing the membership of a legislative committee that will keep an eye on what the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) is doing.

Rep. Jay Roberts (R-Ocilla) and Sen. Charlie Bethel (R-Dalton) have been named by their respective chamber leaders as the co-chairmen of the High School Athletics Overview Committee.

“The original intent was to promote high school athletics in this state, and I want to make sure that remains GHSA’s goal,” Roberts said of the organization that handles scheduling, eligibility determinations, and other athletic matters for Georgia’s public schools.

“While I understand that this (GHSA) is a private body, our public schools in this state have no other option,” Roberts said. “I believe that we should have some oversight in how the members are treated and to make sure that GHSA is acting in their best interest.”

“This committee is intended to give public insight, influence, and transparency regarding the workings of those independent bodies that derive their revenue from admission charges and advertising sales where our students are competing and performing,” Bethel said.

The panel was created by the passage of SB 288, with Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Casey appointing the committee members.

The other committee members are Reps. Randy Nix (R-LaGrange), Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta), Ronnie Mabra (D-Fayetteville), and Amy Carter (R-Valdosta), along with Sens. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), Ed Harbison (D-Columbus), Renee Unterman (R-Buford), andTyler Harper (R-Ocilla).

Fanning’s big selloff

The CEO of the Southern Co., Tom Fanning, has sold off nearly 97 percent of his massive stock holdings in the utility giant. According to SEC filings, Fanning unloaded 1,049,185 shares of Southern stock on Sept. 5 at an average share price of $44.50 – a total transaction of nearly $46.7 million.

After that sale, Fanning held a mere 35,082 shares in Southern Co., which has had some issues with a “clean coal” power plant its Mississippi Power subsidiary has been building.

That facility was initially projected to cost $1.8 billion but by the time it begins scheduled operations next year, the price tag will have ballooned to more than $5 billion – making it one of the most expensive power plants ever built in terms of cost per kilowatt produced. Southern has already taken a writeoff of more than $1.1 billion on the project.

“Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning’s recent stock sale is a routine part of his long-term financial planning,” said Southern Co. spokesman Tim Leljedal.

Regents hire new spokesperson

Charlie Sutlive has been hired as the new vice chancellor of communications for the University System, effective Oct. 1, it was announced this week. Sutlive will replace John Millsaps, who has transferred to a new administrative position at Georgia Perimeter College.

Sutlive currently is a vice president of public affairs and communications for Coca-Cola North America.

Bethea honored

Sally Bethea, who proved to be one of Georgia’s most outspoken and effective environmental advocates during her 20-year tenure as head of the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (CRK), will get a fancy sendoff with an Oct. 14 dinner event at the InterContinental Buckhead.

Bethea earlier disclosed her plans to retire as head of the CRK. She will be succeeded as executive director by Juliet Cohen, who has been the organization’s general counsel for the past few years.

Executive appointments

Gov. Nathan Deal’s office has announced the following appointments to state boards and commissions –

Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority: Alan C. Gravel of Marietta, the president of Willow Construction Inc. Statewide Independent Living Council: Marian S. McCormick of Pelham, principal chief of the Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe.

Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission: Alexander “Whit” Whitaker IV of Rome, chief of staff and secretary of the board at Berry College, and Arthur D. Vaughn of Marietta, the budget and strategic planning director at Morehouse School of Medicine.

Sexual Offender Registration Review Board: Katherine Strayhorn of Dawsonville, the director of vctim services for the Dawson County District Attorney’s Office; Gary Holstad of Duluth, a licensed professional counselor and therapist at Family Recovery Inc. in Gainesville; Matthew B. Connolly of Atlanta, director of A Better Tomorrow Counseling Services; Jessica Moss of Ball Ground, the solicitor general of Cherokee County; Donna E. Andrews of Ball Ground, a senior U.S. probation officer for the Northern District of Georgia, and Lee Robinson, the circuit public defender for the Macon Judicial Circuit.

Georgia Historical Records Advisory Committee: Toby Graham of Athens, university librarian and associate provost at the University of Georgia; Sheryl B. Vogt of Athens, director of the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at the University of Georgia; Kaye L. Minchew of LaGrange, director of the Troup County Archives since 1985, and Garrison Baker of Cleveland, the White County probate judge.

© 2014 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Charlie Bethel , Charlie Sutlive , GHSA , Jay Roberts , legislative oversight committee , Nathan Deal , Sally Bethea , Southern Co. , Tom Fanning , University System