Staton lands $165K gig with Board of Regents
By JIM WALLS
May 22, 2014 — Retiring Sen. Cecil Staton (R-Macon) will start earning a six-figure state salary next month at the University System of Georgia.
Staton resigned his Senate seat today to become a vice chancellor overseeing the system’s programs for military veterans, budding entrepreneurs, international students and continuing education.
“We’ve got a number of activities in our academic affairs area that are related but they’re kind of in silos,” said John Millsaps, the system’s associate vice chancellor over media and publications. “The idea is to try to bring all those folks under one person to direct them and give some coherence to it.”
The five-term senator, who did not seek re-election this year after a close shave in 2012, will start his new job June 1 at an annual salary of $165,000.
As chair of the Higher Education subcommittee of Senate Appropriations, Staton has helped to oversee the University System’s budget for the last four years. The newly created job was not a line item in this year’s budget, and it’s unclear whether the subcommittee ever discussed it.
Creation of the position, if not the choice of who would fill it, appears to have been in the works for at least six months, though. A draft of Staton’s job description, obtained through the University System’s media office, is dated Nov. 12, 2013.
According to the job description, the “VC for EE”
is responsible for leadership of the strategic and long-term initiatives of Military Affairs, Extended & Continuing Education, Entrepreneurship Education, and International Education for the University System of Georgia. This position serves as the liaison between the Board of Regents, the institutions of the University System of Georgia, and key government, business, and postsecondary partners. This position will work regularly with the deans, faculty, and research staff to address legal and regulatory requirements that may have an impact on related program and service areas. The VC for EE will manage functional areas and will work closely with BOR economic development department to identify funding and expansion opportunities with the private sector, government and other supporters of the University System of Georgia.
The number of other applicants for the job, or a timeframe for the hiring process, could not be immediately determined.
It’s also unclear whether Staton’s network of radio stations may still do business with the state’s public universities. Georgia Eagle Media collected $232,000 from 2009 to 2013 from state universities and technical colleges, primarily for advertising and broadcasting the schools’ athletic events. (That amount does not include income sold by the stations for sports broadcasts.)
Staton has reported those payments on an annual business transaction report, like this one for 2013, which are required of any public employee doing business with the state. However, he has not disclosed all of the payments on his annual disclosures of his personal finances, as required by a separate section of the Georgia Code.