Political Notes — Dunn confirmed as new EPD chief

[private]The state Board of Natural Resources unanimously approved the nomination Tuesday of Richard Dunn as the new director of the Environmental Protection Division (EPD), retroactively effective June 15.

Dunn was picked by Gov. Nathan Deal to replace Judson “Jud” Turner, a lawyer who is still on the state payroll as the head of the group of attorneys who are litigating Georgia’s water allocation lawsuits in federal court.

Although he’s now the state’s top environmental official, Dunn’s background is in the administrative end of other areas of state government. He previously was the deputy director of Office of Planning and Budget and prior to that was deputy chief of staff at the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

He will be paid $170,000 a year in salary, a little less than the $175,000 Turner made annually as the EPD director.

In other actions, the DNR board approved the appointment of Zachary B. Harris, a St. Simons attorney, to the Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee and Shore Protection Committee. Harris replaces St. Marys attorney Bert Guy, who was recently elected to a Superior Court judgeship.

One advantage of vetoing ‘religious liberty’ bill

Gov. Nathan’s Deal’s veto of the “religious liberty” bill back in March appears to be paying dividends already, in a business location sense.DealGEJune2016

GE officials were in Atlanta Monday to announce they are locating a new digital services center here, and they cited the governor’s veto as one of the reasons they selected Georgia.

“We respect everyone’s rights, and we have a very open view to employment, and we would be hard-pressed to set up operations any place that discriminated on any basis,” said Jim Fowler, GE’s chief information officer.

Fowler added: “The fact that the governor vetoed the bill – the fact that’s not an issue here – is definitely pertinent in us putting a location here.”

Municipal Court judges elect officers

The Council of Municipal Court Judges has elected new officers: President Gary E. Jackson, Municipal Court of Atlanta; President-Elect Judge Pro Hac John Roberts, Municipal Court of Lithonia; Vice President Judge LaTisha Dear, Municipal Court of Stone Mountain; Secretary Judge Rashida Oliver, Municipal Court of East Point; and Treasurer Judge John “Clay” Davis, Municipal Court of Lovejoy.

Judge Margaret Gettle Washburn of Lawrenceville received the Frost Ward Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes a municipal court judge who has made significant contributions to the Council of Municipal Court Judges over a period of time.

The Council’s 2016 Legislative Award was presented to Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville), the sponsor of HB 691, for “diligent and unwavering support of the Council in the General Assembly.”

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Council of Municipal Court Judges , EPD , GE , Nathan Deal , religious liberty , Richard Dunn