Thu., July 22, 2010 9:36pm (EDT)

Perdue Appoints Cousin To Ports Board
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 4 years ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
Governor Sonny Perdue is shown signing bills in this file photo.  (GPB file photo).
Governor Sonny Perdue is shown signing bills in this file photo. (GPB file photo).
Governor Sonny Perdue has appointed his cousin to serve on the Georgia Ports Authority board

The appointment isn't illegal, but is raising questions.

Perdue's cousin, David Perdue, Jr., is a business executive and a director for several corporations, so he's not unlike the Governor's previous choices for appointed boards.

But it might not be wise to pick a family member when so many others are similarly qualified, says Bill Bozarth of the government watchdog group, Common Cause.

"It makes it look like board appointments and authority appoitments are not a matter of what you know, they're a matter of who you know," Bozarth says. "I think [Perdue] needs to be very careful that people have confidence that system is working. Putting your cousin in place is simply a red flag to a lot of people that maybe that's not being done."

The Governor's spokesman says, as long as no one's questioning the cousin's qualifications, the appointment isn't nepotism.

"Any board would be delighted to have an executive of his caliber," says the spokesman, Bert Brantley.

The Georgia Ports Authority drives business to Georgia and is a force in global shipping.

Georgia law is on Perdue's side. The politics might be as well.

Perdue has five months left in office and his name is rarely mentioned in campaigns to replace him.