ATLANTA -- Political appointees can’t “phone it in” if one Georgia lawmaker has his say.
Members serving on one of 15 state boards would have to physically attend meetings in order to get expense allowances and daily allotments under legislation pending in the House.
State law grants the same daily allotment as legislators for the members of the State Board of Education, the Board of Regents, State Transportation Board, the Board of Natural Resources and others. Currently that is $173 for each day of meetings, according to the Legislative Fiscal Office.
Rep. Alan Powell, R-Hartwell, introduced House Bill 739 last week after learning some board appointees had received allotments while participating in meetings by telephone.
“I’m not opposed to teleconferencing and that kind of stuff,” he said. “I think you miss a lot if you’re not there.”
Powell said he has occasionally had to participate by phone for some of the volunteer boards he serves on in his community and recognizes the communications breakdowns that result.
Teleconferencing is usually less expensive than driving across town or across state to physically attend meetings. Since legislators and many board members represent all corners of the state, meals and overnight lodging are also expected to come out of the daily allotment amount.
Powell’s bill is pending in the House Governmental Affairs Committee which has not held a meeting since the current legislative session began Jan. 13.