Kemp Calls on Former Cobb Candidate for Georgia Utilities Regulator | Georgia News
By JEFF AMY, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) – Georgia Governor Brian Kemp appoints businessman Fitz Johnson to fill a vacant position on the State Civil Service Commission.
Kemp announced on Wednesday that he would call on Johnson, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully for the Cobb County committee last year, to fill a vacant position on the committee created when Kemp appointed Tuesday the Commissioner Chuck Eaton to fill a vacant position in the Fulton County Superior Court.
The commission regulates private, for-profit utilities including Georgia Power Co. and Atlanta Gas Light Co., meaning its decisions affect the wallets of millions of Georgians.
Johnson is the former owner of the Atlanta Beat Women’s Professional Football Team and a retired Army officer. He also unsuccessfully ran for public school superintendent in 2014. Johnson has served as administrator of Cobb-based Wellstar Health Care and the Kennesaw State University Foundation and commissioner of a state charter school. .
Commissioners are elected statewide but must reside in particular districts. Johnson would represent District 3, which includes Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton and Rockdale counties. Johnson was living in the Vinings area of Cobb County when he ran for the county commission, but Kemp spokesman Cody Hall said Johnson now lives in Fulton County.
State law states that a civil service commissioner must live in the district he represents for at least one year before being elected. It also says that a commissioner “must continue to reside in that district during the person’s tenure or that office then becomes vacant.” However, the law does not deal with residency requirements prior to an appointment.
Eaton’s third six-year term runs until 2024, but Johnson will have to run for the remainder of the term in 2022 if he is to remain on the commission.
Johnson could vote on critical decisions regarding the two new reactors under construction at the Georgia Power Vogtle nuclear plant near Augusta. The $ 26 billion plus plant is years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. Commissioners will have to decide how much Georgia Power can charge taxpayers and by what timeframe.
“With his diverse experience and real-world leadership credentials, I know Fitz will work hard every day to ensure Georgia remains the # 1 state for business and the best place to live, work and raise a family.” , Kemp said.
Johnson is said to be the only current African-American member of the commission. A lawsuit disputes whether the election of statewide commissioners discriminates against blacks. The district of Eaton would be strongly democratic if only voters in its four counties chose the commissioner.
Eaton has been appointed to replace Shawn Ellen LaGrua as a judge of the Fulton County Superior Court. Kemp appointed La Grua to the state’s Supreme Court in January. Hall said on Tuesday that the court will determine when Eaton will be sworn in.
Eaton was in his third term as chair of the commission.
Like many budget Republicans, Eaton was narrowly reelected in 2018, forced into a runoff with Democrat Lindy Miller before beating her by around 50,000 votes, a range of 52% to 48%.
Follow Jeff Amy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jeffamy.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.