Ex-Ethics Chair Elected to Transportation Dept. Board

Wed July 30, 2008 - Southeast Edition

ATLANTA (AP) A former chairman of Georgia’s ethics commission was elected May 29 to the state Department of Transportation board, filling the seat left vacant by a man who left to romance the department’s commissioner.

Steve Farrow, of Dalton, was chosen by state lawmakers from the 9th Congressional District in northeast Georgia that he will represent.

He beat out three other candidates.

Farrow is a former state senator and made clear that the Georgia Legislature would set his agenda on the board, which helps steer the department’s $2 billion annual budget.

“You are my boss and that’s the way I will look on this job,” he told state lawmakers

The department has been beset with budget woes and ethics troubles.

Commissioner Gena Abraham, Gov. Sonny Perdue’s choice to lead the department, was slapped with a reprimand from the board in April for failing to report her romantic relationship with board chairman Mike Evans sooner. Evans resigned from the board April 17 to pursue what he described as a budding romance with Abraham. The two recently said they are engaged to be married.

Days after Evans resigned, board vice chairman Garland Pinholster was hit with a sexual harassment complaint.

Perdue also has authorized an outside audit of the department after a preliminary study found that it had promised roughly $1 billion more in transportation contracts than it can afford.

Farrow said he wants to be an “agent of change” at the troubled department.

Farrow will serve a five-year term. The 13-member board will elect a new a chairman in June.