Perdue's picks 

One of the perks of being governor is that you get to give your supporters cool jobs in state government. These range from appointments to the little-known Council on American Indian Concerns to the powerful Board of Regents, which oversees the University System of Georgia.

Most governors have a mixed record when it comes to board appointees. For example, former Gov. Roy Barnes named former Lt. Gov. Pierre Howard, a thoughtful politician with environmentalist leanings, to the Natural Resources Department's board. Then again, Barnes also appointed his buddy Otis Brumby, publisher of the Marietta Daily Journal, to the Board of Education, on which Brumby bickered and feuded with other board members and then abruptly resigned.

Gov. Sonny Perdue is establishing a mixed record, too. Over the summer, he picked Judy Mecum to sit on the board of the Department of Juvenile Justice, which protects Georgians by "holding youth accountable for their actions and by providing the necessary services to improve their life skills," according to the department's website. Mecum is a former captain with the Hall County sheriff's office who established the county's Youth and Juvenile Investigations Unit, which investigates child abuse and child molestation cases. She is clearly a qualified board member, with experience in issues that likely will arise at the Department of Juvenile Justice.

On the other hand, on Feb. 14, Perdue also appointed Michael Lee Baugh to the Juvenile Justice board. Baugh's qualifications for the job, according to the governor's press release, are that he's a sales representative and Internet manager for Roy Campbell Chevrolet in Thomasville. He also served in the U.S. Air Force as a law enforcement specialist. And he's active in the Thomasville-Thomas County Chamber of Commerce.

The same day Perdue picked Baugh over everyone else in the state to be on the Juvenile Justice board, he named Mabel Clarke Jenkins to the board of the Department of Natural Resources. The mission of the DNR is "to sustain, enhance, protect and conserve Georgia's natural, historic and cultural resources for present and future generations."

According to the governor's announcement, Jenkins' qualification for the task is that she owns Hanging Rocks Plantation, a hunting club where gun enthusiasts hone their skills by shooting clay pigeons. The Hanging Rocks Plantation also operates quail, turkey and pheasant hunts. In addition, Jenkins manages Cherokee Rose Sporting Resort, another shooting club.

Perdue also has named Robert William Pollard Jr., president of Pollard Lumber Co., to the Georgia Forestry Commission, whose mission is "to provide leadership, service, and education in the protection and stewardship of Georgia's forest resources."

Why, exactly, did Perdue appoint a man who cuts down trees for a living to a board whose aim is to protect Georgia's forests? It might be that Pollard, his company and his employees have given $13,000 in contributions to political candidates, mostly Republicans.



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