ATLANTA — More than 40 percent of Gov. Nathan Deal's appointees to state boards and commissions contributed to his gubernatorial campaign, a newspaper study shows.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in its Wednesday editions that 37 of the 87 people the governor has named to boards and commissions since he took office in January are donors to his campaign.
Of those appointed, 15 are women, three are black and 17 live in Hall County, where Deal lived before moving into the governor's mansion, the newspaper reported.
The 2010 U.S. census shows that Georgia is 56 percent white and 30 percent black.
The governor's spokesman, Brian Robinson, said Deal has a goal of diversity.
"Obviously, those who are closest to members of the administration, perhaps, are the most encouraged to apply," Robinson said.
For many positions, "there is an application process and we choose from those applicants," Robinson said. He said the choices are limited by the diversity of the applicant pool.
Denise Taylor, who is black, said she did not contribute to Deal's campaign and has never met him. The massage therapist from St. Simons Island applied for a position on her industry's governing board and was appointed.
Paul Brower, a Deal appointee to the Georgia Real Estate Commission, said he's known Deal for years and was a lobbyist when Deal served in the Georgia Legislature. He said Deal's office asked him to join the commission.
Sharon Tracy, a professor of public administration at Georgia Southern University, said Deal should be more cognizant of the race and gender of his appointees.
"If you really want to have a broad-based administration and feel comfortable about the job you're doing, you need to better reflect the population by appointments," she said.