Gov. Nathan Deal appoints wife of his chief of staff to state board

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Gov. Nathan Deal appoints wife of his chief of staff to state board

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David Barnes
Gov. Nathan Deal speaks before signing several bills, including HB 338, in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday, April 27, 2017. (DAVID BARNES / DAVID.BARNES@AJC.COM)

Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed the wife of his longtime chief of staff to a six-year term on the state Department of Labor’s board of review.

Bambi Riley is set to earn approximately $42,000 annually in the position. The three-member board she has joined is charged with considering appeals over administrative decisions related to whether or not someone should receive unemployment benefits. They are the top level before an appeal would go into the court system.

Deal signed an executive order June 22 confirming the appointment, along with the board’s two other members: former Douglasville Mayor Harvey K. Persons III, who is retired, and Atlanta civil rights leader Xernona Clayton Brady.

According to a department spokesman, the board meets as needed, rather than on a set schedule, although members are expected to also work individually and submit reviews of appeals to department support staff.

Riley, who has a background in real estate, is married to Chris Riley, who has worked for Deal for more than 24 years. They have two sons and live in Gainesville.

In a statement about the appointment, Deal’s office said all decisions are “based on an individual’s qualifications and experience and this instance is no different. Bambi will be an asset as a member of this part-time board.” 

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