Political Notes — Deal only ranks no. 888

The Atlanta Business Chronicle conducted an analysis of state government salaries and determined that Gov. Nathan Deal, with his yearly pay of $139,900, ranks as only the 888th highest-paid state employee.

The Chronicle’s data was a little out of date, because it relied on information from the state’s Open Georgia website that was only current as of fiscal 2016, which ended more than a year ago.

Two of the three highest paid state employees for that fiscal year were Augusta University President Ricardo Azziz (with a salary of more than $1.7 million) and Georgia Ports Authority Director Curtis Foltz (more than $1.9 million).  Both Foltz and Azziz have since departed from state employment.

From the Chronicle’s account:

The vast majority of Augusta University professors and administrators among the highest-paid state employees are medical doctors and, thus, command high salaries, said Charles Sutlive, spokesman for the University System of Georgia.

The Teachers’ Retirement System of Georgia (TRS) accounted for the other three top 20 highest-paid positions in state government, aside from Foltz and the Augusta University employees. Tops among the TRS personnel was Charles Cary, the retirement system’s chief investment officer, who was paid $806,490 in fiscal 2016, fifth on the list.

The next governor of Georgia will see the annual salary increase to $175,000 a year, but even that would only move him or her up to no. 541 on the salary list, the Chronicle estimated.

Big Pharma settlement

Attorney General Chris Carr said the pharmaceutical company Mylan agreed to pay paid more than $7 million to the state of Georgia to resolve allegations that it underpaid rebates owed to the Medicaid program for EpiPens dispensed to Medicaid members.

“Mylan knowingly misrepresented this drug in order to underpay on rebates and make a profit at the expense of our state and others,” Carr said. “The Georgia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is prepared to work with nationwide partners to investigate and hold accountable companies that receive payments from taxpayer-funded programs.”

Mylan agreed to pay $465 million to the federal government and the states, with the states receiving $213,936,000 of the total.  Georgia received $7,128,069.28 as its share of the money.

Cox withers away

Cox Media Group, whose holdings include the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB, is whittling away at itself, announcing plans to sell off the Palm Beach Post, the Palm Beach Daily News, the Austin American-Statesman, and other community newspapers in Texas.

“We have made the decision that we will be better equipped to operate our newspapers in Atlanta and Ohio, where we have the integrated opportunity with our TV and radio operations,” CMG President Kim Guthrie said.

Daily Kos endorses legislative candidate

The Daily Kos progressive website is endorsing attorney Jennifer Jordan, a Democratic attorney running in the special election in Senate District 6.

“Jordan’s work to promote and protect voters’ rights will make her a crucial voice in the legislature,” said Daily Kos political director David Nir. “Electing her will not only add a strong progressive voice in the Georgia Senate, but it will also destroy the Republicans’ supermajority in the chamber and help Democrats fight the extremist agenda.”

In other election news, the Georgia Association of Educators’ (GAE) is endorsing several candidates in the Nov. 7 special elections: Jaha Howard, a Democrat running in Senate District 6, Democrat Nikema Williams in Senate District 39, Democrat Deborah Gonzalez in House District 117, and Democrat Jonathan Wallace in House District 119.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

Tags: Chris Carr , Cox Media Group , Daily Kos , GAE , Nathan Deal , state salaries