Georgia residents have begun canceling their donations to Georgia Public Broadcasting after a recent report revealed that a former Republican state senator — who believes the United Nations is planning to turn the U.S. into a communist dictatorship using mind control — is receiving a salary of $150,000 to run part of the network.
GPB announced last month that then-State Sen. Chip Rogers (R) would be heading a new initiative to tell the story of Georgia businesses on public radio, but it wasn’t until the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that his salary would be higher than Gov. Nathan Deal’s (R) that employees and Georgia residents began to express outrage.
GPB member Sandy Wood recently cut off her $20-a-month donation and received a letter from GPB Vice President Yvette Cook, who claimed that Rogers’ position would be funded with taxpayer money instead of listener contributions.
This week, Ashlie Wilson Pendley resigned as a senior producer for GPB’s “Lawmakers” program, noting that GPB employees had gone through four rounds of layoffs before the state created the high-paying position for Rogers.
Pendley explained in her resignation letter that it was “unconscionable to create a position and compensate any individual in this manner during these difficult times.”
“This was the wrong decision for GPB,” the letter said. “It has the appearance of the political manipulation of the public airwaves.”
Better Georgia Executive Director Bryan Long told Raw Story that Pendley had taken a “brave position” by resigning.
“This new position that the governor created for Chip Rogers is the same title as hers, but he’s going to earn three times what she was making,” Long pointed out. “This was a political payback or cronyism. I would say that Gov. Deal gave his political buddy a government handout.”
“I’ve never seen people across party lines be so upset at this governor,” he added. “It’s definitely a growing scandal.”
Better Georgia has created a FireChipRogers.com website where people can sign a petition asking GPB to cut ties with Rogers.
For his part, the governor is now refusing to talk about the appoinment. The governor’s office told WSB-TV that the Deal was not responsible for hiring Rogers.
Watch this video from WSB-TV, broadcast Jan. 23, 2013.
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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