Mike Klein Online

Karen Handel: Enact Performance Pay for State Government Employees

A rejuvenated and re-energized Karen Handel said Friday that all state government employees should be subject to pay-for-performance standards.  Her comment created applause when Handel addressed a Pocketbook Politics luncheon at Kilpatrick Stockton in midtown Atlanta.  The luncheon was a rare public appearance for Handel since she barely lost the Republican nomination for governor to Nathan Deal.

Handel was replying to an education question when she said, “I think a performance based approach for teachers is appropriate…  People should be judged on how they do their job… The private sector does it.  If the private sector can get to it, we could get to it…  And I’ll tell you this, if it’s good for teachers, it ought to be good for all the state employees.”

Handel also told 75 luncheon guests the state should make certain that programs created with Race to the Top education grant dollars do not become an unfunded mandate.   Race to the Top is a federal grant program that will provide $400 million to Georgia in four equal installments that begin this year.

“Let’s make sure that we don’t put in place programs that are ongoing expenditures to the budget that are being funded by one-time dollars,” Handel said.  “If you do that, then all of a sudden two, three years down the road, when the Race to the top Dollars are gone, you have a big hole and how are you going to fill that?” Handel is a strong advocate for charter schools.

Handel admitted to being “amused” that a large contingent of Atlanta media were in the room.   She endorsed the Republican Party ticket, without ever once mentioning Nathan Deal by name, and Handel made clear she strongly believes former Governor Roy Barnes would be an unacceptable choice.

She took a swipe at Barnes, asking, “Who do you want making the judicial appointments in this state?  What if a vacancy opens up on the Georgia Supreme Court?  Who do you want making that appointment?  And, heaven forbid, what if something should happen to one of our fine U.S. senators?  Who do you want making that appointment?”

Handel did no media interviews and she left through a side entrance that enabled her to avoid the clutch of reporters waiting near the main elevator.   She did take audience questions.  One of those questions referred to the Georgia Tax Reform Council that is working on writing a new revenue plan.

Handel commended the Council for seeking local opinion.  She supports moving toward consumption-based taxes and less reliance on business and income taxes revenue.  “I would hope that’s a direction that they would go.  But remember folks, that’s just a first step.  The real heavy lifting will be convincing to the people of this state.”  She added, “It’s important to show people what they will be getting.”

Handel has avoided public spotlight since her August primary run-off defeat.   “I have transitioned from ‘Bring It On!’ to ‘Live a Little, Love a Lot and Have Some Fun!’  And I’ll tell you, I recommend it for each and every one of you from time to time.  What you’re going to find is it’s going to leave you rejuvenated, re-energized and absolutely ready to take on whatever is next with even greater determination.”

Karen Handel has exited the stage for now, but it sounds like she won’t be gone for long.

Mike Klein is Editor at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

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October 22, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

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