Deal appoints wife of top staffer to board judgeship

Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed the wife of his administration’s chief operating officer to the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.

Elizabeth D. Gobeil will replace former Republican state Rep. Warren Massey, who had been appointed to the $150,000-a-year state job by Gov. Sonny Perdue. Massey’s term on the board expired in January.

Gobeil has been a lawyer for about 15 years and was a senior counsel for two global pharmaceutical companies. Prior to that, she was a “hiring partner” in the Atlanta office of Thompson Hine. She once served as an aide to the late-U.S. Sen. Paul Coverdell, R-Ga.

Her husband is Bart Gobeil, Deal’s COO and a member of the State Ports Authority. He is a former utility lobbyist who served as Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s chief of staff before joining the Deal administration.

Massey will become an administrative law judge with the board. It is unclear if he will retain his current $150,000-a-year salary. Several former lawmakers work for the board.

Gobeil’s hiring comes a week after the Deal-appointed Georgia Lottery Board hired his top budget official, Debbie Dlugolenski Alford, to head the lottery. Alford, who was Deal’s choice for the post, is the first state lottery director without experience running a lottery.

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