It seems Big Bird just can’t catch a break. Thanks to Governor Nathan Deal, Chip Rogers, the disgraced former Georgia Senate Majority Leader and former treasurer of ALEC, just became the second highest paid employee at Georgia Public Broadcasting, the third largest public broadcasting system in the nation.
The once=powerful Rogers became national news and resigned from the Senate in shame after he hosted training for GOP lawmakers on Agenda 21, a bogus conspiracy theory comparing Pres. Obama to Soviet Union dictator Joseph Stalin and claiming the president, the Chamber of Commerce and developers use cold war era mind-control techniques on citizens.
Rogers, who believes that public-private partnerships, sustainability and green jobs are all a rouse to force citizens to give up their private property rights will, ironically, host a yet-to-be-defined radio program on economic development. Roger’s “vast” experience in broadcast journalism peaked with his role as “Will the Winner” who helped sell information on which gamblers bet.
Gov. Deal made the controversial appointment on Dec. 4 but did not disclose the $150,000 salary until the close of business on Jan. 18, the Friday before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Rogers started his job as Executive Producer on Tuesday and will draw a 100 percent taxpayer funded salary that is almost twice the salary of any other Executive Producer at GPB. The job was never advertised and still does not have a written job description.
Yesterday, veteran GPB executive producer Ashlie Wilson Pendley resigned in protest after learning that Rogers, who will also be an executive producer, would be hired at nearly three times her salary. During Nathan Deal’s administration, Georgia Public Broadcasting has faced budget cuts of over 14%, forcing cuts in staff.
Although Gov. Deal spent Wednesday saying he did not hire Rogers and pinning the blame on GPB (see WSB-TV), the original announcement confirms that Deal made the appointment. (Audio of Chip Rogers saying Gov. Deal approached him about the appointment: WABE Interview)
It’s clear that Gov. Deal knows he made a mistake because he won’t even acknowledge his own appointment that he was so proud of only a month ago. Instead, he’s lying about who hired Chip Rogers and throwing Georgia Public Broadcasting under the bus.
We can stop this brazen abuse of power by Governor Deal. An online petition that generates emails to Governor Deal, the President and Board of Directors of Georgia Public Broadcasting is available here. , The message is simple: Save Big Bird; Fire Chip Rogers.
Amy Morton is Chair of Better Georgia, Inc. and a 20 year veteran of progressive politics in the Peach State. She previously chaired Georgia’s WIN List, was Vice Chair of Victory 2010, the Coordinated Campaign of the Democratic Party of Georgia and has consulted on multiple candidates and independent committees. A North Carolina native, Amy is a licensed marriage and family therapist and has her own practice in Macon, Georgia where she has lived for the last 28 years.