Governor Sonny Perdue announced on Friday that Senator Bill Heath, the governor’s Floor Leader in the Senate, is introducing legislation and a Constitutional Amendment to create a cabinet form of government. Under the proposal the heads of the state’s Agricultural, Insurance, Education, and Labor departments would be appointed by the governor, subject to Senate confirmation.
“This proposal will result in better government for Georgians,” Gov. Perdue said. “It will ensure that agency heads are focused on good policy, and not bogged down with the politics of running for re-election.”
Currently, only nine states elect Commissioners of Agriculture, 12 states elect Insurance Commissioners, 14 states elect State School Superintendents, and five states elect state labor commissioners.
“This is an opportunity to create a more efficient and cohesive government,” said Sen. Heath. “We will have professionals running agencies who will be directly accountable to the Governor and legislature every single day they are serving.”
The agencies that would be appointed by the Governor under this proposal have almost 6,000 employees and budgets of more than $7.5 billion.
“This measure will allow us to take the politics out of what are administrative and policy positions,” said Majority Leader Jerry Keen. “Sometimes the best policies are not the best politics, and the people in those jobs should be free to make the best policy decisions for the state of Georgia.”
If the General Assembly approves, the Constitutional Amendment would be on the ballot this November for approval by the voters. Those currently running for these offices would be able to serve a full term upon winning, and the positions would be appointed by the governor that is elected in 2014.
“A vast majority of states have these offices as a part of the executive cabinet,” said Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers. “Clearly there would be cost savings and efficiency improvement if this were the case in Georgia. However, it is the citizen’s right to determine this for themselves and that is why I support this measure being placed on the ballot.”