Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Dankprofessor is staggered by widening Georgia sexual scandals

Georgia’s State Department of Transportation has been shocked by two major sexual scandals that involve the ruling powers that be at the DOT.

Gena L. Abraham, Georgia’s state transportation commissioner, who is the first woman to run what is one of the most powerful government agencies in the state, is likely to step down as the commissioner.

Such is likely to be the case since the NY Times reported that on

“last Thursday evening, the transportation board chairman, Mike Evans, shocked members in an executive session with the news that he was involved in a romantic relationship with Ms. Abraham. Department policy forbids intimate relationships between subordinates and their superiors.”

Both Ms. Abraham and Mr. Evans, 47, are single.

Mr. Evans, a developer from Cumming, Ga., who had recently won a bitter re-election battle for the board, resigned his post and his seat on the board. The board announced that he would be replaced by the vice chairman, Garland Pinholster, until a new chairman could be elected in May.

By Monday, however, Mr. Pinholster had also stepped down as chairman as news spread of a sexual harassment complaint filed against him by two department employees.

Ms. Abraham had said on Friday that she would resign. But she backed away from that position after Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle raced to the department’s offices and called her into a meeting in a stairwell there, with a guard posted outside the door.

On Monday, the board voted 8 to 3 to reprimand Ms. Abraham for failing to report the romantic relationship in a timely manner, but not to dismiss her.

The revelations about Ms. Abraham and Mr. Evans surfaced just three weeks after she sent a memorandum to all department employees saying she would not tolerate misconduct or violations of department policy.

“The sheer number of offenses that we are discovering is staggering and embarrassing to the department,” she wrote in the memorandum, which was dated March 31, and she added that she would not hesitate to fire employees for unethical or unlawful behavior.

Ms. Abraham later admitted that when she sent the memorandum she was already romantically involved with Mr. Evans.

“I was very hopeful for Gena Abraham, and I still am,” Mr. Lewis said. “It won’t be easy for her to come out of this, but before everyone found out she was falling in love with the chairman of the board, it wasn’t going to be easy either.”

But others believe that Ms. Abraham’s days at the department may be numbered.

Still, other longtime employees were philosophical about the drama surrounding the department.

“It’s a little surreal, obviously,” said David Spear, a department spokesman. “But I’ve been around for a long time, and affairs of the heart have their own agenda.”

The dankprofessor puts Gena Abraham in the same category as Eliot Spitzer- utter hypocrites.

Ms. Abraham may find the behavior of her subordinates at the DOT as embarrassing and staggering, but such does not compare to the staggering and embarrassing behavior engaged in by Ms. Abraham.  In fact, the dankprofessor is staggered.  I am in a Lloyd Price state of staggerlee.  Threatening to fire employees for the same behavior that she was engaging in is just not acceptable.  She should do the same thing that Spitzer did, resign.

Of course, the dankprofessor does not hold that her having a consensual relationship with the Board Chairman of the DOT is wrong or unethical.  It’s simply no ones business when adults are engaged in a consensual sexual relationship.  Policies banning sexual relationships in the workplace or the university place simply do not work.  What they work to do is to facilitate lying, dishonesty and fraudulent administrators.

University administrators, corporate administrators, administrators in the public sector are not competent to supervise the sexual lives of their employees, and some like Ms. Abrahams are not competent to supervise themselves ethically or sexually. 

Both the University of Georgia and the State of Georgia are not competent when it comes to dealing with the sexual lives of others.  The only policy that would appear to be a viable policy for both the state and university is a laissez faire policy except for those behaviors which function to directly sexually constrain others.  And even in this area, we must have administrators who are constrained by due process of law.

I agree with David Spear, a DOT spokesman who said ” …I’ve been around for a long time, and affairs of the heart have their own agenda.”  Amen, and lets stop others from imposing and preaching and hypocrising their own sexual agendas on others.

 —–
If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration
to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor™
© Copyright 2008

 

 

 

 

 

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April 24, 2008 - Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, higher education, office romance, sex, sexual harassment, sexual politics, University of Georgia, workplace

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