Political Notes – Winter storm shuts down state government across northern half

[private]The winter storm that blanketed much of North Georgia with snow Tuesday night and Wednesday morning has shut down state government agencies in that half of the state.

Gov. Nathan Deal said Wednesday that state government will remain closed on Thursday for non-essential employees across the 83 counties affected by the snowstorm.

“Our top priority is to ensure the safety of Georgians and to allow the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to continue doing its job,” said Deal.

“GDOT is responsible for the maintenance of more than 17,900 miles of state roads and interstates,” Deal said. “Currently, there are more than 12,800 miles remaining to be cleared and treated. In light of this, I urge people to stay home, stay safe and remain off our roadways.”

Deal had already declared a state of emergency in counties north of a line extending northward from Columbus to Macon to Augusta and closed state government for non-essential personnel on Wednesday.

PSC orders Ga. Power refund of $43.6 million

The Public Service Commission has ordered Georgia Power to refund $43.6 million to its customers because of the utility’s earning more than its authorized return on equity during 2016,

The amount of the refund per customer and the date of the refunds will be determined later.

The PSC currently allows Georgia Power a 10.95 percent return on equity, with earnings above the 12 percent level returned to the customers.

Atlanta purchasing chief sentenced

Adam L. Smith, formerly the chief procurement officer for the City of Atlanta, has been sentenced to federal prison for conspiring to accept more than $40,000 in bribe payments from a vendor who obtained millions of dollars in city contracts.

He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Steven Jones to two years, three months in prison, three years of supervised release, ordered to pay $44,000 in restitution, and a $25,000 fine.

“His prison sentence is a strong reminder to those tempted to trade their public positions and authority for money – the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will not stand idly by,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.

Smith was initially arrested by federal agents last year during a sweeping investigation of City Hall government.

Ralston has primary opposition again

Opposition in the Republican primary has become a way of life for House Speaker David Ralston. He’s had it in the past two election cycles from Tea Party elements who don’t think he’s been conservative enough as speaker.

The Fetch Your News website reports that Ralston will again have a primary opponent this year in Margaret Williamson, an Ellijay resident.

Williamson did not list any issues on which she disagreed with Ralston, but merely confirmed she is going to qualify to run against him.

Justice for Children appointees

The Georgia Supreme Court has appointed three new members to the Committee on Justice for Children. They are Virginia (Ginger) Pryor, interim director of Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services; Talley Wells, executive director at Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice; and Bishop Robert Wright of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. They will serve until Sept. 30th, 2019.

The Committee on Justice for Children assists in the implementation of nationally recognized best practices in Georgia’s juvenile courts and helps provide child safety, permanency, and judicial process measures for juvenile courts;

© 2018 by The Georgia Report

[/private]

Tags: Atlanta purchasing director , David Ralston , Georgia Power , Nathan Deal , PSC , winter storm