Political Notes — Keith Parker will step down as MARTA chief

[private]Keith Parker, who was widely lauded for turning around the administrative and financial operations of MARTA during his five years as general manager of the transit system, said Tuesday he will step down from his job.

Parker will become the CEO of Goodwill of North Georgia, a non-profit organization that provides job training and employment placement services — likely a less stressful job than running MARTA.

MARTA is expected to name an interim general manager later this week and board Chairman Robbie Ashe said the agency will conduct a nationwide search to find a replacement for Parker.

“We are deeply grateful for his stewardship and proud of the many strides we made as an agency during his tenure, Ashe said in a statement. “As chief executive, Parker helped to usher in a new day for MARTA’s customer service, fiscal responsibility, and service expansion. He leaves MARTA stronger and healthier than ever before.”

Parker took over the MARTA job in 2012 at a time when the transit agency was struggling with its finances and facing ceaseless criticism from state legislators.

Under Parker’s leadership, the financial situation was stabilized and Parker became a well-respected figure at legislative committee meetings.

“Keith set a new standard for the role of general manager,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said. “I cannot compliment him enough on the terrific job he did at a pivotal time for one of the most important public transit agencies in the nation.”

Deal calls special elections

Gov. Nathan Deal has called special elections for Nov. 7 in at least five legislative districts that have been vacated due to resignation.

The elections will be held in Senate District 39 (Atlanta), where Vincent Fort resigned to run for mayor Atlanta; House District 42 (Smyrna) where Stacey Evans resigned to run for governor; House District 89 (DeKalb County), where Stacey Abrams resigned to run for governor; House District 117 (Athens), where Regina Quick quit to accept a judgeship; and House District 119 (Watkinsville), where Chuck Williams quit when he was appointed head of the Georgia Forestry Commission.

Qualifying for the special elections will be held in the state elections division office on Sept. 11, Sept. 12, and through 1 p.m. on September 13.

Hanson on broadband committee

Valdosta City Manager Larry Hanson has been appointed to the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) of the Federal Communications Commission by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

“I am very pleased that Larry will be joining the full BDAC,” Pai said. “He has played a valuable role at the working group level in developing a municipal model code, and his experience and perspective will make him a great addition to the BDAC as it works toward final recommendations.”

Broadband access in rural areas is becoming an increasingly important issue to legislators, and is sure to be a major issue in next year’s race for governor.

Rest in peace

Talmadge Clifton “Tal” DuVall, who worked for more than 30 years in the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service, died Aug. 21 at the age of 84.

“He was a visionary man who was very progressive and ahead of his time,” said Laura Perry Johnson, associate dean for UGA Extension. “He was very interested in the prosperity of rural Georgia and was one of the first people to begin talking about the ‘two Georgias.’”

DuVall was also a civic leader who served for six years as a member of the unified Athens-Clarke County government and was a member of the Athens-Clarke County Economic Development Authority and the Athens-Clarke County Planning Commission.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: FCC broadband committee , Keith Parker , MARTA , special elections , Tal DuVall