Kemp names Bradbury as new regent in further board shuffle

January 29, 2022 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) — Gov. Brian Kemp is further shuffling Georgia’s Board of Regents, which governs the 26 institutions of the University System of Georgia.

Kemp announced Friday that Sachin Shailenda and Rachel Little are no longer on the board because they no longer live in the congressional districts they were appointed to represent. Shailendra had lived in the 13th Congressional District and Little had lived in the 4th District, but that changed after lawmakers drew new lines.

Kemp shifted Cade Joiner of Brookhaven from an at-large seat to representing the 4th District, while he was shifting Neal Pruitt of Atlanta from the 11th District to one of five at-large seats that can be filled by anyone statewide.

Kemp announced homebuilder Tom Bradbury as the new regent representing the 11th District in the northwest Atlanta suburbs. Bradbury has a history as a major homebuilder and founded his current company, Woodstock-based Smith Douglas Homes.

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Governors typically name their top supporters to be regents. Bradbury and his wife have given tens of thousands of dollars to Kemp’s campaigns for governor.

Kemp earlier this month named commercial contractor Richard “Tim” Evans to the seat representing Georgia’s 6th District and named trucking entrepreneur Jim Syfan to the seat representing northeast Georgia’s 9th District.

Friday’s changes further shuffle a 19-member board that must decide on a permanent leader for the 340,000 student system.

Sonny Perdue has sought to become chancellor of the system, but his bid has apparently been stymied by internal opposition from some regents. The board instead appointed Teresa MacCartney as acting chancellor on June 30.

The “acting” title could have signified that regents expected MacCartney, previously the system’s executive vice chancellor of administration, to hold the post for only a short while. She wasn’t named the interim chancellor, as predecessor Steve Wrigley was named before regents decided he should lead the system permanently.

There’s been no public movement since then on finding a permanent chancellor, although regents said in June that they were still looking for a permanent leader.

In May, regents hired a new search firm after the previous firm quit, citing “misinformation.” The new search firm was supposed to reexamine existing candidates and recruit new ones. The agency that accredits all the schools asked in April whether there had been undue political pressure to appoint Sonny Perdue as the system’s leader. In June, responding to a public records request by The Associated Press, the system said no one ever responded to that inquiry.