Georgia’s Judicial Qualifications Commission got the bulk of a hefty budget cut restored for 2011, but it will lose its longtime director, former Rockdale County District Attorney Cheryl Fisher Custer. She declined comment on whether her departure is linked to criticism of her $82,560 salary for part-time work. “It’s just time to move on,” she said.
What may be Georgia’s busiest ethics agency is also its smallest. In July, it may get even smaller. With the tiniest of budgets, the Judicial Qualifications Commission makes ends meet by not paying its investigator and lawyers. Now, the Georgia House proposes whacking the JQC’s budget by more than one-third to just $176,000. Legislative leaders say it’s about getting their money’s worth from the commission’s part-time director. And, they say, it’s definitely not about the agency’s charges against a judge from House Speaker David Ralston’s hometown.