Inspector general recommends higher standards for flights -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Inspector general recommends higher standards for flights

August 26, 2003

 (Atlanta-AP) -- Georgia's inspector general says there should be written guidelines for official flights taken by Governor Perdue. And Inspector General James Sehorn says the state should adopt a system for reimbursing taxpayers for the cost of flights that are not state business.

Yesterday's report followed an investigation into allegations that Pedue -- a licensed airline pilot -- had taken the controls of a state helicopter during a flight. The inspector general also looked into allegations that some of the state's less experienced pilots are flying the governor and that Perdue has billed political trips to the state.

The report did not criticize the governor -- who created the position of inspector general to investigate allegations of wrongdoing in state government.

Sehorn wrote that his investigation found no Federal Aviation Administration regulations barring the governor from flying the state's helicopters as long as there was a licensed pilot "in command."

The report said the governor should not be at the controls during "critical" stages of flights, such as landing and takeoff. Perdue's spokesman said the governor has always turned over the controls at such times.

Sehorn's files show the governor's office and the three agencies that have aircraft used by the governor -- the Georgia State Patrol, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resources -- have adopted policies that correspond with his recommendations.

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