Partial Transcript: I know you were born in Griffin, Georgia and that you attended Young Harris College.
Segment Synopsis: Huckaby talks about growing up in Atlanta and deciding to attend Young Harris College. He shares about first meeting Senator Zell Miller during his freshman year and the early development of their relationship.
Keywords: County Unit System; Fulton County; Georgia General Assembly; Georgia State Senate; Georgia State University; Neill Primary Act; blue collar community
Partial Transcript: So when 1964 comes and he indeed is a candidate for Congress.
Segment Synopsis: Huckaby discusses the work he and Marti Plemmons did during Miller's campaign for a seat in the United States Congress in 1964 against Phillip Landrum. He evaluates Miller's campaign tactics and the reasons for his defeat.
Keywords: Gainesville; Georgia Democratic primary; Georgia State University; Landrum-Griffin Bill; President Lyndon B. Johnson; Roosevelt Square; Stone Buckeye Ewell; Young Harris College; anti-union legislation; education reform; power of incumbency; unions
Partial Transcript: When did you re-hook up with Zell Miller?
Segment Synopsis: Huckaby talks about his reintroduction to politics via Zell Miller and discusses his roles in the Senate Research Office and the Department of Community Affairs. He also lists notable coworkers of his, including Frank Eldridge, Hamilton McWhorter, Tom Perdue, and Howard "Red" Atherton. Finally, he discusses his relationship with Speaker Tom Murphy throughout the process.
Keywords: Appropriations Committee; Busbee Administration; Carter Administration; Charlie McDaniel; Governor George Busbee; Governor Jimmy Carter; Green Door Committee; Joe Mack Wilson; Office of Planning and Budget
Partial Transcript: Tell us a little about the department--it was new.
Segment Synopsis: Huckaby shares about his experiences as commissioner of the DCA, building up its influences and finances. He also discussing his job as executive director of the Georgia Residential Finance Authority, focusing on the nature of the job and its relationship with the Georgia Legislature.
Keywords: Georgia Municipal Association; Georgia State Financing Investment Commission; Governor George Busby; HUD; Housing & Urban Development Department; Lieutenant Governor Zell Miller; Speaker Tom Murphy; mortgage revenue bonds
Partial Transcript: The governor's race of 1990, were you involved?
Segment Synopsis: Huckaby talks about the governor's race of 1990 between Lieutenant Governor Zell Miller, Congressman Andrew Young, Senator Roy Barnes, Representative Bubba McDonald, and former Governor Lester Maddox. He analyzes Miller's campaign strengths and weaknesses. Finally, he discusses his time as director of the Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) and the process of creating the first budget.
Keywords: Dan Ebersole; Georgia Democrats; Georgia General Assembly; Georgia House of Representatives; Georgia gubernatorial campaign; Governor Joe Frank Harris; James Carville; Miller Administration; Speaker Tom Murphy; state budget
Partial Transcript: So you weathered the storm?
Segment Synopsis: Huckaby talks about the process of implementing the state lottery with the help of Cynthia Wright, chief legal counsel to Gov. Miller. He also explains the governor's power to set the budget, and how Miller purposefully set more conservative budget estimates in order to rebuild the state's reserves and generate favorable lending rates from bond agencies.
Keywords: Georgia Constitution; Georgia constitutional amendment; HOPE Scholarship; Henry Thomason; Office of Planning and Budget (OPB); balanced budget; bond rating agencies; econometrician; interest rates; joint powers
Partial Transcript: Now, Hank, if you will, let's talk about how the budget is actually formulated.
Segment Synopsis: Huckaby explains how the state budget is created. He talks about the process undergone by the governor's office and the State House and Senate.
Keywords: Appropriations Committee; Georgia General Assembly; Georgia Legislature; Green Door Committee; OPB; Office of Planning and Budget; balanced state budget; electric typewriter; fiscal year; revenue estimate; state program funding
Partial Transcript: Let's explain what the Green Door is.
Segment Synopsis: Huckaby describes his relationship with the Green Door Committee (an informal subgroup of senators from the Appropriations Committee) throughout the budgeting process. He also shares about the compromises involved in finalizing the budget, and talks about Governor Zell Miller's ability to achieve his budget goals.
Keywords: Appropriations Committee; Dan Ebersole; Georgia state budget; Miller Administration; OPB; Office of Planning and Budget; Pete Hackney; Tim Burgess
Partial Transcript: So each side of the legislature, the Senate and the House, agreed to the committee report.
Segment Synopsis: Huckaby discusses the governor's power to line item veto the budget and the legislature's power to override that veto. He also recounts the discovery of a legislative slush fund in the 1990's.
Keywords: Appropriations Committee; Georgia General Assembly; Georgia state budget; appropriations bill; conference committee report on the budget; fiscal year
Partial Transcript: Well, let's talk a minute now about the lottery.
Segment Synopsis: Huckaby discusses the process of appropriating state lottery funds between the K-12 program, scholarships, and educational capital expenditures. He also talks about the lottery's early success and formulating the HOPE Scholarship with Governor Miller.
Keywords: Department of Education; Dr. Henry Thomason; Helping Outstanding People's Education; University System of Georgia; education reform; means testing; scholarship income test; school technology
Partial Transcript: Well, you spent a lot of time with him.
Segment Synopsis: Huckaby describes Miller's character and work ethic. He also talks about the success of Miller's governorship during difficult financial times.
Keywords: Georgia recession; Georgia state budget; Miller Administration; budget cuts; political philosophy; university system of Georgia
Partial Transcript: Now comes 1994, reelection.
Segment Synopsis: Huckaby discusses Miller's decision to run for reelection and his own feelings at the time. He also talks about Miller's work to implement Georgia Rebound as Miller transitioned from his first to second term.
Keywords: Georgia driver's license fees; Georgia gubernatorial election; Georgia hunting fees; campaign promises; political agenda; positive government
Partial Transcript: So in November of that year, he was reelected.
Segment Synopsis: Huckaby talks about working with Governor Miller on the state budget after his reelection. He also briefly shares about Miller's dedication to Georgia teachers.
Keywords: Budget Redirection; Dr. Henry Thomason; Georgia State University; OPB; Office of Planning and Budget; Tim Burgess; University of Georgia; education careers; education reform; state revenue growth; teacher salaries
Partial Transcript: So you did go to Georgia State.
Segment Synopsis: Huckaby discusses his life after politics, including his career at Georgia State University and the University of Georgia, where he served as Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration. He also briefly shares about his family and personal life.
Keywords: Georgia State University College of Business Administration; Karen Holbrook; Policy Research Center; Roy Ball; University of Georgia Institute of Government; Young Harris College
BOB SHORT: I'm Bob Short and this is Reflections on Georgia Politicssponsored by the Duckworth Library at Young Harris College and the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at the University of Georgia. Our guest today is Henry Huckaby, former Director of the Office of Planning and Budget for Governor Zell Miller, and Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration here at the University of Georgia. Welcome, Henry.
HANK HUCKABY: Glad to be here, Bob.
SHORT: Most folks call you Hank.
HUCKABY: That's correct.
SHORT: May I?
HUCKABY: You certainly may.
SHORT: Well, Hank, we'd like to divide our conversation today into three parts:first, you and your early life, then your association with Governor Zell Miller and his administration, and finally your work at the University of Georgia. But 00:01:00before we talk about those things, let's talk about you.
SHORT: I know you were born in Griffin, Georgia and that you attended YoungHarris College.
HUCKABY: That's correct. I was born in Griffin, Georgia December 13th, 1941,and my parents were Fred and Lena Huckaby. I am the middle child of five children. We lived in Griffin for, I think, about seven years. I left there between the first and second grade, and we moved to south side of Atlanta, little town called Hapeville, and that's where, of course, I grew up, went to grammar school, high school, and have a lot of great memories of that town. That was certainly a different kind of era, but that community and the kind of people who lived there, was pretty much a blue collar community with the airport, the 00:02:00Ford plants and other kinds of industrial facilities there. I attended the schools of Fulton County system. I felt that I had a very sound education coming out of Hapeville High School. Still have a lot of those friends today. But credit a lot of my values and particularly work ethic to living in that kind of community, and I just have nothing but fond memories of that experience.
SHORT: So you went to Young Harris College.
HUCKABY: Yes, I went to Young Harris College when it came at the end of thesenior year, again, thinking about what you were going to do next, one of the things that my father stressed to me all of my young years was the value of 00:03:00education. He was very candid. He had to work very hard. He was a person who had the opportunity to go to college when he was a young man, and he did not take advantage of it, and it's something that he regretted all his life. So he preached the value of college and education in general to me constantly. When it came time to go to college, to his great chagrin, he could not afford to send me, and I was still debating as where to go to school. One of the options was go to the University of Georgia. I had been admitted to Emory University, but could not afford to go. And a senior English teacher at Hapeville High School who had a brother who was on the board of trustees at that time suggested and convinced me that Young Harris would be a good place for me, and there was a history of the family in terms of linkage to Young Harris College. I had had an aunt and 00:04:00uncle who went there, and my sister went there for a couple years--older sister--when they had an academy, high school academy. So there was a history there. That was not something totally out of the blue, but I made the decision to go to Young Harris College and it was, you know, when you look back on your life, the decisions you made, it probably has to be one of the most important decision that I ever made.
SHORT: And that's where you met Zell Miller.
HUCKABY: I met Zell Miller there on the first day of classes that I went,September of 1960. I took American Government and he was the instructor, and that was a great class. I was interested in taking that particular course because I had grown up, even as a child, having a tremendous interest in politics. I can recall as a, I guess I was in the seventh grade, coming home 00:05:00from school every day to watch the McCarthy hearings. I was probably the only student in my school that had an interest in those kinds of things, but I was just fascinated by all that, and that continued on. When I entered Young Harris College I had a tremendous interest in state politics and local politics, and so then Senator Miller, a professor at Young Harris, he and I hit it off real well almost from the get-go. He was not only an excellent teacher, he was someone that I could really relate to, and I think he was pleased that I had an interest in that area so strongly, and he allowed me to be pretty vocal. At that time I was from Atlanta. That was in the last days of the old county unit system, which obviously those of us in Atlanta who had any interest in politics were tremendously against, and so we used to spar a little bit about that in a very 00:06:00positive and instructive way. It was a really great class. He was a very popular teacher and an excellent one as well.
SHORT: He was in the State Senate at the time.
HUCKABY: He was in the State Senate. He was. And that influenced a lot of whathe tried to teach us. It was not only learning about the formal things about American government and American politics, but also the practical side. I know he would give extra credit if you had gone to register to vote and if you knew your local officials and certain things like that. He really tried to stress some very practical aspects of being a good citizen.
SHORT: And you graduated there 1962?
HUCKABY: I did. Graduated in 1962.
SHORT: What happened then?
HUCKABY: Well, I went on to Georgia State University in Atlanta, transferred00:07:00there. One of the things that happened, Bob, in the last weeks of my stay at Young Harris College, Zell Miller asked me to go have a Coca-Cola with him, and he began to share with me his thoughts about running for Congress in 1964. And he wanted me to know that and he would hope that I would be able and willing to work in his campaign in 1964 if, in fact, that came to pass. And I was flattered and excited about it and I said "Certainly I would," and then I went on to Georgia State to work on my undergraduate degree.
SHORT: So when 1964 comes and he indeed is a candidate for Congress.
HUCKABY: He is indeed. I was, as I did in all my education, I was working myway through Georgia State. I had a job at the University working in the 00:08:00admissions office, and I tried to get a leave of absence and could not, so I just quit my job, went to Young Harris, worked in the campaign for no pay. The pay--well, I won't say no pay. Of course, I stayed at his home. He provided the room and board, and I had just bought an automobile, and the deal was, you have to make my monthly payment on the automobile, and I think at the time it was like $72.00 a month, and so that was what we did from June--late May into, I think the primary was in August.
SHORT: Well, tell us about the campaign. What was your role?
HUCKABY: Well, there were two staffers and we both had the same financial deal,a young lady who was a student at Young Harris when I was. She was from Hazel, 00:09:00North Carolina at that time, Marti Plemmons. I think then Senator Miller that was his wife, Shirley was from North Carolina, he knew that family and Marti was one of those people that was intensely interested in politics, so we were the two staff people. And I lived at Young Harris with the Millers in the rock house, and his two children, Matt and Murphy, were very small, and Marti and I would go to Gainesville every day. That's where the headquarters were, and I would drive to Haysville in the mornings, pick her up, we would go down to Gainesville and work, do the campaign, lot of mailing, calling, those kind of things you typically do. We were in a old building that had been a storefront of some sort. It was an interesting campaign. We didn't really know much. I don't 00:10:00know how much help we were to Zell about running a campaign, but he was new at that too in terms of running--do anything that expansive, that big. He had been a state senator representing three small counties up in northeast Georgia, so it was a earning experience. We had big dreams of winning that campaign and, of course, going to be on the Congressional staff in Washington, D.C. But the cards were stacked against us. I'll call him Zell. Zell, I think, had gotten interested in running for Congress because at that time the holder of that Ninth District Congressional seat was Phil Landrum, who was a very powerful member of Congress, he was very conservative. But at that time, Zell had great visions of 00:11:00doing things to help that district, that part of Georgia. He was very much a mountain person, a son of Appalachia, and he felt that Phil Landrum had not done as much as he could have done to help that part of the state in terms of supporting certain federal programs. Zell had a tremendous interest in and commitment to education, and Congressman Landrum had generally opposed bills that would support education with federal funds, and so that was big, big issue for him. I think one of the groups that helped spur Zell's interest in running and thinking about the possibility of even winning the race was the--Phil Landrum was known as very anti-unions, and in fact there's a major piece of 00:12:00legislation still on the books, the Landrum-Griffin Bill that he sponsored. It was considered anti-union legislation, so the union, particularly those primarily in Atlanta, were very much interested in trying to get opposition to Congressman Landrum, and so he got some support from the unions out of Atlanta, the automobile industry, Lockheed, those kinds of things. And there were a number of people--there was some, I guess, political rationale because a number of folks in that part of the state had come to Atlanta to work in those kinds of industries, those kinds of plants, and so they were familiar with the unions. They had benefited from unions. I mean, so many of them had to come to Atlanta to do that because there were no jobs in northeast Georgia, particularly the 00:13:00part of the state that he was from. And there was also an element that Zell was very ambitious. He was ambitious, but he also had ideas and goals about how to make that part of Georgia a better place, and he was always--all his life he had been committed to that.
SHORT: That was a presidential year.
SHORT: President Johnson came to Georgia.
SHORT: Came to Gainesville. What happened in Gainesville?
HUCKABY: Well, the event that happened in Gainesville, I think it was in Juneor July. It really set us and set the campaign on its heels. Of course, Congressman Landrum, having been in Congress a long time, had known Lyndon Johnson a long time, and he invited and Johnson agreed to come to Gainesville to make a speech. Made a speech on the square in Gainesville. There must have been 00:14:0050 to 60, 70,000 people. It was a tremendous success from that standpoint, and I think in that case we all began, and I know Zell there began to understand the power of the incumbency, and that really set us back and it made it very difficult to overcome that. It was very difficult to raise money, and so that was a real turning point. Zell worked very hard, but he had very limited resources. And when you've got not only the power of the incumbency of Phil Landrum combined with that kind of support, and the intervention by the President of the United States, that was difficult to overcome and we didn't overcome it.
SHORT: Well, you lost the race.
SHORT: But it was close.
HUCKABY: It was close. It would have even been close--I can't remember the00:15:00name, but the Landrum forces did something very strategically smart.
SHORT: Stone Buckeye Ewell.
HUCKABY: That's right. Put the third candidate in the race, and he was on thebottom of the list of people running for Congress, and he never did a thing. He didn't campaign, he didn't put up posters, he didn't go on the radio. And the bottom line, nobody knew he was in the race, and that had, in fact, an impact of draining off some votes. Very smart thing to do, but I don't think we would have won anyway. But it was a close race, and we were all, you know, just devastated. We did some interesting things. Zell, during that campaign, always very creative and sometimes sort of prone to the theatrics of politics and campaigning, and he 00:16:00was constantly attacking Landrum for the things he didn't do, the things he didn't support like higher education or education in general, whereas versus some of the things he did vote for. And I never will forget one of the things he found over the years that Congressman Landrum supported was a federal funding of an aquarium in Washington, D.C. Well, Zell keyed on that and he said that Congressman Landrum would support a big fishbowl in Washington but wouldn't support education to help the kids in northeast Georgia. And what he did then to manifest that issue, he had this huge billboard-size kind of sign made with that issue, where there was picture of a fishbowl on it with a fish in it and so 00:17:00forth. We mounted that on a trailer, and I pulled that thing all over northeast Georgia hooked up to an old Plymouth station wagon, and we had loudspeakers mounted on the top of that thing, and we'd go. Marti and I would drive around the places talking about the fishbowl and vote for Zell Miller and blah, blah, blah. He would do things like that. I mean, I guess you've got to be creative like that when you don't have any money. And I'll always remember pulling that fish sign around north Georgia.
SHORT: Well, what happened to Hank Huckaby after that campaign?
HUCKABY: Well, obviously I went back to Atlanta and went back to my former bossto see if I could get my job back. There was nothing open at that time, so I got back in school, resumed my studies at Georgia State and found a job, part-time 00:18:00job, working for Old Southern Airways. I was a gate agent, and that was a pretty good-paying job, given what jobs paid in those days. And long story short, I worked there, eventually I came back to my old job in the admissions office at Georgia State College then, and I continued to work full-time until I finished my undergraduate degree. As I said, I had to stay in school. In those days, Bob, you recall, beginning of the Vietnam War, the draft was still in effect, so I had to be in school full-time, and to be in school full-time, I had to work full-time. So it was a juggling act, and I was able to do it. Tuition was 00:19:00different in those days. I still lived at home, but I was bound and determined to get that degree. I think I can recall it--I think I made $250.00 a month. Still had that car payment, I took back up after the campaign. Tuition, including student fee for full-time at Georgia State College at that time, I think was $52.00 a quarter, but I got through that, finished my degree, and all that time I was dating a young lady I met at Young Harris College. We got married in April, 1965. We will celebrate our 45th anniversary in April coming 00:20:00up. She came up from the same kind of background I did. She was from Douglasville, Georgia. Her father ran a concrete plant. He was part owner. But we both had similar backgrounds, worked during college, and so it is often with young men and young women, we were off and on in terms of dating, but we ultimately decided to get married and I finished my undergraduate degree in August of 1965 and we had gotten married the previous April.
SHORT: So when Senator Miller ran for Congress in 1966, you had a wife andprobably was not too interested in a free job.
HUCKABY: No, at that point I couldn't afford to pull up roots and go into the00:21:00campaign, and he had a little more support in terms of finances, I think, by that time, but still he ran again against Phil Landrum and did not win. And so in some way our career relationship sort of drifted a little bit, but we always stayed in contact. I went on to finish my undergraduate degree and started a master in business administration degree. I did a very short stint, career-wise, with CNS Bank, and then got a call back from my old boss at Georgia State. And when he offered me a job as assistant dean of admission, with about a $1,500.00 salary increase, when you begin married and got a mortgage and a baby on the way, $1,500.00 was a lot of money. So I did that, stayed there for four years. 00:22:00
SHORT: When did you re-hook up with Zell Miller?
HUCKABY: I re-hooked up with him in the early 70's. We stayed in touch, but itwas after he was elected lieutenant government. I had wound up in 1973, going to work for the state government and office of planning and budget. Jimmy Carter was governor at that time and over the course of about--I was with the Carter administration a year and a half, and then the first year of the Busby administration. But during that time one of Zell's interests as he worked as lieutenant governor was to sort of professionalize the operations of the State 00:23:00Senate in that the Senate had no research staff, no information, no way to go do research on legislation or various issues, and he wanted to create a Senate Research Office, and he got the support to do that from the various senators and he offered that job to me. And I jumped at it. It was a chance to reconnect with Zell and it was a fascinating opportunity. I mean, I had never worked--well, I had been an intern in the legislature in 1964 and really gotten an appetite for that line of work and was given an opportunity to set up that operation. I was director of the Senate Research Office for about three years, met a lot of great people and worked very closely with, at that time, Frank Eldridge, who is the 00:24:00Chair of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee and my operation came under him. Got to know Secretary of the Senate McWhorter.
HUCKABY: Hamilton McWhorter. Great guy. Great guy. And he was, on a day-to-daybasis in terms of how I ran that office and the things that we did, he was a great mentor for me. He gave me great advice and it was a great experience. Being there put me in position to establish relationships and be exposed to a lot of other people, and one of those happened to be my friend, who I've always considered my friend, was Tom Perdue. Tom Perdue was in the Governor's office, and--
SHORT: This was Governor Busby.00:25:00
HUCKABY: Governor Busby, and during that time, you may remember that the statesuperintendent of the schools, Charlie McDaniel, had a sudden heart attack and died in office. So, they were screwing around putting together a group of people to help them identify possible candidates, people to be appointed to take his job, and somehow I got connected into that little small staff group. I knew the people in the Governor's office. I didn't work there. I was in the Senate. And that was a means of my sort of coming to the attention of the Busby administration. Out of that experience, there occurred later on, you will recall there was a very active, very well-respected and well-liked gentleman in the legislature, Howard Atherton. 00:26:00
SHORT: Red, they called him.
HUCKABY: Red Atherton, who was a very close ally of Governor Busby, andcampaigned for him all the way. And one of the commitments, one of the campaign issues for Governor Busby was that he had promised, particularly local governments, particularly municipal governments, that he would do something to give them a greater voice, a greater representation in state government. There was a community affairs function as part of the old Department of Industry and Trade, but it was, in terms of the priorities of commissioners of industry and trade, it was way down on the radar screen. And so Governor Busby had promised he would do something, so he created a new department and it is still in existence, called the Department of Community Affairs. Well, Howard 00:27:00Atherton--Red Atherton, had been mayor of Marietta and been a member of the legislature from that area for a long time, and so he was appointed Commissioner, and I helped Commissioner Atherton in organizing the department, just a matter of courtesy. He asked for my help and we worked together. I thought I had a shot at being the Deputy Commissioner. I did have a shot but it didn't turn out to be that strong a shot, and I wasn't selected. But then as you know, probably within a year after Red was appointed Commissioner, he had a major heart attack and died. Long story short, I was selected to--Governor Busby was trying to appoint me as Commissioner of that department. All this time I was 00:28:00still director of the Senate Research Office, and that was a really pivotal turning point in my career in state government. An interesting thing happened. Being in a Senate Research Office in terms of legislative relationships and legislative politics, I was clearly identified and seen as a Zell Miller man, and you will recall in those early days when Senator Miller was Lieutenant Governor and Tom Murphy was Speaker of the House, there was a lot of cross words between those two and it was a stormy kind of relationship. So when Governor Busby offered me the position, and of course I accepted, one thing I asked him to do, because I knew pretty much of what I thought how Speaker Murphy would 00:29:00react "If you would call Speaker and give him advance notice." Well, he wasn't going to do that. By golly, he was governor, and so the announcement just went out in the press like they do anything and Speaker had some not--well, they weren't positively received that a Zell Miller person would be appointed to that job. It replaced his long-time, very close friend, and Howard Atherton and Speaker were very close. Very, very close. And so it was a sort of a shot across the bow and I wasn't exactly experienced, and I was young. There was no question of that. I didn't know whether I was ready for that job, et cetera. One of the hardest things I had to do in my life, I realized, you know, I can't let that rest there, you know. He's the Speaker and I'm a department head and I got to have a relationship with the House representative. And so I called, set up an 00:30:00appointment and he made me wait all week. I had to wait until Friday to go in to see him, and I rehearsed a hundred times what I was going to say. But I was very candid with him and we established a good relationship and I told him I couldn't do the job without his help, and the work of that department was something that Red was very committed to, and I had a good relationship with Red, and I asked him directly "What do I need to do?" And he told me. He said, "These are the people you need to go see," and I went to see every one of them. And it just so happened, in those days, you remember the days of the Green Door Committee on the budget. All six of those were on the Green Door Committee, and so I went to see them and established a relationship and one of those six was Joe Mack 00:31:00Wilson. Joe Mack Wilson had succeeded Howard Atherton in the legislature, and so he and Red had been tremendous friends, so that relationship made a tremendous difference in how I was able to serve as Commissioner of that department for almost three years.
SHORT: Tell us a little bit about the department. It was new.
HUCKABY: It was brand new. The biggest ally of the department outside stategovernment itself was Georgia Municipal Association. It was a department that was primarily involved in implementing some federal programs like the old HUD 701 Planning, those kinds of departments. There was very little state money going into it, and we assembled those and tried to strengthen those, and part of that too was identifying ways that, until we could establish a budget base with 00:32:00state government, to try to attract as many federal funds as we could. And I concluded that if you were going to be taken seriously by the legislature and by local governments themselves, quite frankly you had to show them what you could do for them. And in that context, I mean, I was straight up. I went to Governor Busby and asked him to transfer the old Title 5 commissions, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Coastal Plains Regional Commission, which were grant-making agencies for local governments, because I thought, if you've got money to offer, if you've got grants to give out--
SHORT: You've got a lot of friends.
HUCKABY: Got a lot of friends and a lot of interest, and to his credit,00:33:00Governor Busby did transfer those to the department. So we began to build from there. When the community development block grant program came into being, we were able to garner responsibility in that area as well, so we began to build the department. And I will say that Governor Busby was supportive and we were able to work out, you know, work through the stormy relationships that sometime Speaker Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Miller had. But it was a good 2-1/2 years.
SHORT: So what happened after your tenure at DCA?
HUCKABY: I was approached--at that time there was an entity and I was on theboard by virtue of my position called the Georgia Residential Finance Authority, 00:34:00and that was an agency whose primary purpose, it was a brand new agency then too, was to provide funding through the issuance of mortgage revenue bonds to supplement or subsidize mortgages for low and moderate income people. At that time when the position came open, they had only sold one bond issue, about $50 million dollars, and the executive director of that time resigned and went into the public finance arena. And long story short, the board of authority offered me the job, and I accepted the job. It was a pretty good increase in pay. Again, 00:35:00with a growing family and all that, it was important. It was a hard decision to make in one regard, though. I dreaded going to tell Governor Busby that I wanted to take that job, because he had been very supportive, very good to me, offered to me the Commissioner's job to begin with. But I went into that position in 1980--
SHORT: With his approval.
HUCKABY: With his approval, June of 1980, and stayed there until December of1990. Stayed there ten years. During that time I continued to maintain a good relationship with Lieutenant Governor Miller and residing in the Senate. We had legislation from time to time. The biggest challenge in that job is that in order to sell mortgage revenue bonds, we had to continually raise our 00:36:00legislative cap on how many bonds we could have outstanding at any time. And the biggest challenge there was dealing, again, with the House leadership. Speaker Murphy was very conservative, and almost every year, if not every year, every other year we would have to go in to increase our bonding capacity, and increase that legislatively and then go to the entity known as the Georgia State Financing Investment Commission, made up of seven people, chaired by the Governor, and of course the Speaker was on it, Lieutenant Governor was on it, people like that. And it was always a struggle, I mean, something I had to work very hard at, and it was one of those things that kept me up at night, but we were successful over those ten years of building that program, helping an awful 00:37:00lot of people secure mortgages, and so by the time I left in 1990, we had sold over a billion dollars' worth of bonds. And we were totally self-sustaining, we got no money from the state legislature, and so we had to be well-managed. I had a great staff. We not only did that program, but handled a number of federal programs, particularly the HUD Section 8 program provides rent subsidy to low and moderate income people all over the state. We had the largest state-managed Section 8 program in the country at that point and had a lot of great people, did a lot of good work there. It was a good experience.
SHORT: The governor's race of 1990, were you involved?
HUCKABY: Not directly. I was still running the Finance Authority, and of00:38:00course, as you know, there were a number of people running in that race. The Speaker was not supporting Zell Miller, so I did all I could legally behind the scenes. I know I would get telephone calls from people like Marti Plemmons--wasn't Plemmons then. It was Pingree. Was on the acting campaign and some others that, you know, Zell would be flying in from somewhere at the Peachtree DeKalb Airport or whatever, and so I would quietly get some people that I knew on my staff, and others who were supportive, and we'd go out to help swell the crowd greeting the candidate at the airport and things like that. So
SHORT: Let's talk a little bit about that race. Very interesting race. Four00:39:00super candidates. In addition to Lieutenant Governor Miller, you had Congressman Young. You had Senator Barnes, Roy Barnes, and you had Bubba McDonald--
SHORT: --who was supported by the Speaker of the House.
HUCKABY: That's it. Right.
SHORT: What was your reaction at the outcome of that election?
HUCKABY: I thought he could win it. Going into it, the key concern I had, whichhe dealt with, and I told him this. I wrote him a note that--when he said he was thinking about running, wanting to run, to me the key, as I had observed over the years, that he had to have a professional working with him, organizing the campaign, keeping it on track, and that would be something that would be hard for Zell to accept, because he had always been very hands-on, doing it all, 00:40:00thinking it all, and sometimes, you know, he would make mistakes by just depending on himself. And so when he decided to get a professional person to help manage that campaign, Mr. Carville, to me that was a major turning point for him. I felt that he had a real chance. He had been a successful lieutenant governor. The blip on the screen had been when he had run against Herman Talmadge for the U.S. Senate, but he had bounced back from that. So I felt pretty good as we got closer and closer. But you were right, there were some very strong people, probably a stronger field than we've had in a long time running for governor. And good people, people that I respected and had 00:41:00relationships with, but it was a great victory. I mean, it was sort of, in many ways, a vindication, sort of like Zell coming back from the dead in many ways to become governor.
SHORT: Well, he had a great ability to reinvent himself when it was necessary.
HUCKABY: Right, and he did it in a great way and Mr. Carville did exactly whathe had to do in terms of keeping Zell focused, which he did, staying on message, and I'm sure that was trying at times for both of them, but it worked out beautifully.
SHORT: That was the year also when there was a very strong Republican candidatein the general election.
HUCKABY: Yes, yes. But that was still in the days, though, that if you got theDemocratic nomination, you're not a shoo-in, but you are most likely going to 00:42:00win. So within, I think within three or four days of the election, it may have been Thursday or it may have been early the next week, I can't recall, Zell called me and asked if I would join the administration. And he offered me the job of being Director of Office of Planning and Budget, and that's the only job, quite frankly, I was interested in. I had spent 2-1/2 years in Office of Planning and Budget in the early '70's and had some ideas on how that office could be done, be run, should be run, and had a very strong feeling that that office was a part of the Governor's office, so you had to be in sync and be 00:43:00supportive of what the Governor wanted to do, and I accepted the job. He also talked to me about the deputy position. At that time, in the last stages of, last years of his being lieutenant governor, Dan Ebersole was on his staff. And I told him I would be delighted for Dan to be my deputy, and we teamed up at that point and I think he announced on the same day during the transition, and this was not long at all after the election, the appointment of Keith Mason, me, and Dan Ebersole. And we began working with Zell on the budget.
SHORT: So you were not awed by the responsibility of being the director of that00:44:00very important agency.
HUCKABY: Well, there was a little awe there, a little apprehension, becausethere again, I was coming in to that fairly visible office as a Zell Miller man. As you know, the House of Representatives played a major role in the budget process. I mean, that's where all revenue-related bills had to originate. There had been people in the legislative side of the budget, like Pete Hackney had been there for years, knew it insideand out. I had not been directly involved in the budget process for a long, long time, and my dealings with the legislature since I left OPB in the early '70's had primarily been on the legislative side, and so there was a little apprehension, but we took it on in a 00:45:00very difficult situation, very difficult time.
SHORT: No money.
HUCKABY: No money. There was actually zero reserves. Revenues were continuingto fall behind. I like to say we chased the revenue estimate downward. I think we changed it at least twice in those first six months. We just started struggling with the budget, well in late November and December. We weren't in office yet, but essentially Governor Harris was very, very kind and open and we essentially took over the budget building process at that time in order to get the budget ready as required by statute by the end of the first week of the legislative session. And those were challenging times, very challenging. 00:46:00
SHORT: What steps did you take to overcome the problem?
HUCKABY: I've not told this before, but one of the biggest steps we had toovercome--one of Governor Miller's great attributes is that he is a visionary. He is an activist, he has things he wants to get done, and the most challenging thing those first two months was trying to convince him that, "Governor, we can't do any of this. There is not a thing we can--we are going to be cutting budgets, we are going to be laying off people." And there were some people in the room that were trying to convince him and play to his preferences or druthers that "you can have it all, things are going to turn around and you can do a tax cut and you can give teachers a salary increase." And our biggest 00:47:00challenge was to convince him that he can't do either one of those. And that was a tough two or three weeks, tough two or three weeks. But right off the bat that established what my working relationship with the Governor could be. We would have and could have very candid discussions about what could be done and what should be done, and both survive it. I mean, sometimes he didn't want to hear it, and you knew he didn't want to hear it, but you always knew that the last thing he wanted was a yes man. He wanted straight up advice, and then he would make a decision as to whether to accept it or not, and to his credit and to my benefit, we operated that way the whole time that I was state budget director 00:48:00for about five years, but it made for some sleepless nights early on because we was just all learning and getting our feet wet, but we came to the conclusion that he was concerned that the budget would be taken away from us in the sense--ours was a very austere budget. We were making, as I said, cuts and reductions, et cetera, where we could--that somebody would take that over by doing the things he wanted--promising the things he wanted to do, like a salary increase for teachers, a group that he has always been supportive of in a great way, and do a tax cut. But they didn't. They couldn't. And essentially the budget he recommended is what got passed.
SHORT: So you weathered the storm?
HUCKABY: We weathered the storm. A backdrop to dealing with the budget issuebecame how he was going to go forward with his big political plank of 00:49:00implementing the state lottery.
HUCKABY: And we began to wrestle with that, and in fact all of the staff workwas done in also planning the budget on how to--on designing that, defining that. I had four or five people. We would meet every week and everybody was assigned different responsibilities. The person that worked with us from the Governor's office was his legal counsel, Cindy Wright, and Cindy and I had a great relationship because she was my legal person at the Georgia housing finance start. And during the course of that as you remember, Bob, as we got closer to the point of actually implementing it, the opposition got stronger and stronger, and so when it came time to pass the constitutional amendment, it was 00:50:00a close vote. A very close vote. So we worked very hard on designing the Georgia lottery and we worked from this premise that we wanted to take the best of the best and build a lottery corporation that could function as much like a private corporation as we possibly could. And so we visited three or four what we considered the top lotteries in the country. The best run. I went to a conference of lottery directors and talked to all those folks, and that's how we came to design the lottery corporation that we have. It was very, very successful. But as the opposition grew to the lottery, the Governor got 00:51:00concerned about, "Can I really pass this thing?" And some people made overtures to the Governor that "We will help you." This overture was from the legislative side. "We'll help you, but we would like for the power that the Governor has to set the revenue estimate, for that to be a joint power." Well, I'd come to the conclusion you can talk about line item vetoes and all that sort of stuff, but the singular most important budget power the Governor had was to set the revenue estimate, and that's something that the Governor and I had to have a lot of talks about--
SHORT: Let me break in a minute and ask you to explain how, in fact, theGovernor sets the revenue estimate.
HUCKABY: Okay. Good question. We had a process. At that time the state of00:52:00Georgia and each governor was very blessed to have the services of Dr. Henry Thomason. He was our "economatrition", brilliant guy, and he monitored the performance of the economy constantly. He was a contract employee, but he was at the OPB office every day. And he built his econometric models to monitor what was going on in the economy. So we would meet with the Governor once a month to go over how things were looking, how the economy was going, how that was reflected in the various revenue categories of state government. And so when we began the budget development process which began typically in September of each year, and see, this had already begun when Miller came in with a general projection of what the revenue estimate is likely to be, or the range for the 00:53:00next year. Then as you go through the Fall, that process keeps getting more and more refined, and then by the time you get to about middle of December, at that time, given the way Dr. Thomason worked and his models worked, he would get the final numbers in from various national industries and would sit down with the Governor and he would advise the Governor how things looked, what the range should be. And the Governor would then make the decision. It was his decision whether we're going to estimate a 4 percent increase or 1 percent decline or whatever it was, and then that's what drove the final work in putting the budget together, because Georgia requires that the budget submitted be a balanced budget. And so as a result, I was convinced that is the most important power he had. You can argue all day long how you're going divide up the power, but the 00:54:00Governor gets to decide what the pie looks like, how big the pie is going to be. And so we were able to convince him that--"don't listen to that serpent out there whispering to you. You need to preserve this budget power solely for the governor." He did that, and that power was instrumental, Bob, in the Governor rebuilding the state's reserves. The state's reserves are critical not only in terms of just the year-to-year balancing of the budget, making sure you've got enough money to fund the budgets you in fact pass. But it's also an area that is critical to the bond rating agencies which control your ability, not necessarily your ability, but the cost of borrowing money to build those things, construct 00:55:00those things that the state government needs. And it was by the power and the policies you set and managing the revenue estimate allowed us to re-establish those reserves in a timeframe the rating agencies didn't think we could do. And it's very simple, the way you do that. If you've got a--you take a very conservative approach. You take the low end of the range that the economist gives you. You know, you have pretty good confidence that the actuality is going to be hanging in the range, but that's where you build your surplus, and the surplus flows into the reserves. So, maintaining that power was critical and it worked to inure to the Governor's benefit to have his whole tenure as governor.
SHORT: Now, Hank, if you will, let's talk about how the budget is actually formulated.00:56:00
HUCKABY: Okay. The budget process in terms of the Governor's office officiallybegins sometime in September. Each governor can change it a few weeks. And it begins by the various agencies submitting their request to the Office of Planning and Budget. Now, prior to this the agencies have been doing a lot of work. They have been probably working on this for several months themselves because they have got decisions to make, set priorities and so forth, and each agency, particularly if you get an agency as large as the Department of Human Resources, for example, has its own constituency, so it's a balancing act for them as to what they're going to request of the Governor's office. The Office of Planning and Budget receives those, we had a staff of about 85 people. Not all of them work on the budget, but we began to analyze those requests, putting in a 00:57:00format so we can compare agencies across the board, and you begin to establish a schedule of interviews. The Governor will actually have hearings with the various agencies with the department head, his or her assistants or board members or whatever will come in, and make their case for their requests, and some of it might include the request for supplemental appropriations as well as the budgets begin the next July. And that's a give and take process. It goes back and forth. They will raise issues, there may be items that they are requesting "We the OPB staff needs more information on and they need to go out 00:58:00and do some field trips," that kind of thing. That process goes back and forth until about Thanksgiving or a little after. By that time, you've really got to begin to hone down, because you've got to get a budget decided. And in those days, technology wasn't then what it is now. You've got to get the budget ready to go to the printer, and that meant, ideally you would get it to the printer at least the week before Christmas. Didn't always work because in those days you typed it by hand. The best technology was an electric typewriter. You remember when they finally went to where you, you know, the tape up there, it automatically corrected the errors, erased the errors. That was a tremendous technological improvement. But the Governor's going through the process of 00:59:00working within the context of what he thinks the revenue is going to be for the succeeding fiscal year, and he, of course, has his own priorities and he makes decisions as to what programs are going to be funded and what level. That goes into the Governor's document, the Governor presents his budget to the legislature by the end--typically in those days, the Thursday of the week of the convening of the legislature, and then he'd make a budget speech and all that. And that immediately then goes to the legislative budget office for consideration by the House. Then the House goes through its own procedures, their budget hearings, I know we used to take a week just about, where the agencies would appear before the joint meeting of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee, and they would make their own case because the 01:00:00agencies were in, you know, a difficult situation. We, the Governor, expected them to be supportive of the government he recommended, and that was pretty much true of those department heads he appointed. Constitutional officers sometimes were a little different story. But in those days we had a good relationship with the legislature. The Governor would make his appearance before that committee, and I would be the first person to speak in terms of going into some of the details of the budget, and department heads then over three or four days would come in, and I would be the last person to speak again, reiterating what the Governor's position was and making the case for why we had the best idea and the right idea. And then the next two or three months was the typical legislative process. We would grind through it, the various committees would make their 01:01:00recommendations, the House would pass their version, and then--
SHORT: After it went through the Green Door.
HUCKABY: Yes, there would be some green door, but at that point when the Housemade its recommendation and passed the budget, then it would go to the Senate and they would go through essentially the same process, and by that time you're getting really short on days, so the tension builds at that point, and when both of them have passed their versions, it goes to the conference committee, and that's where the real work is hammered out, and in those days, the work of the Green Door or Conference--what--
SHORT: Let's explain what the Green Door is.
HUCKABY: The Green Door--
SHORT: Or was.
HUCKABY: Or was. It happened to be that the people working on the--thisconferee's is jointly and primarily in separate bodies would meet behind what 01:02:00then was initially a green door. As it went forward it wasn't necessarily a green door, but that name got attached to it. And they would go back and forth about what they would really discuss what they were going to do and set their own strategy. Part of it was like a game. I mean, you know, they were playing off each other and they were deciding in their own way, what they could give in to the Senate on or whatever. But what was constructive for us at that point, I understand it's not that way anymore, the Governor's office was very much involved in that process in that a day didn't go by once the budget got to the legislature, that I didn't visit with a legislative budget officer, and we had a very good relationship, very professional relationship. He would keep me 01:03:00informed and I would keep him informed, and through all of this, we were trying to be sure 1) we got a budget that was balanced and that was responsible, and also that there were needs sometimes that would come up, issues would come up from the time the Governor presented his budget to the time we got toward the end of the session that none of us had anticipated. And sometimes you would find mistakes. And so we had to have a day-to-day very practical working relationship, and I was very proud that during my time that we did. We were able to do that and help each other. And we, on behalf of the Governor, Dan Ebersole and I and later Tim Burgess when he became my deputy, we sat at the conference table. Now, we were at the foot of the table, but we were there to answer 01:04:00questions and, in our own way, keep the Governor's priorities on the table and as you honed the budget down and you got closer and closer to the final version, we would give the wink and a nod that that was okay with the Governor and of course we were communicating with the Governor as well. I would go in and tell the Governor, he would be sitting down in his office waiting. I would say, "Well, I think we can get this, I think we can get that. How much do you actually really have to have for this item?" And we would go back and forth on those kinds of things, so it was very much a compromise process. Of course, the press was always sitting there feeling that they are not being told enough, that too much is being done in secret. There was one reporter who was a good reporter, once the conference committee came to a conclusion and this was the 01:05:00budget they hand shook on and were going forward with, he would always come up and say, "Alright, Hank, tell me how much pork there is in this budget." And I would say, "Well, it depends on your perspective. If there's money in there going to your district to do something good, that's not pork." What I didn't tell him was, "Listen, Governor Miller got 99 percent of what he requested, so if it takes 1 percent to get that done, that's okay. That's okay. That's money at the margins." And that's the way it worked for us. It worked very well, and the Governor was always successful, really, really successful in getting what he recommended because to his credit, Governor Miller knew how to do that. He had a 01:06:00keen sense in not only making the recommendations that reflected his priorities and what he thought was good for the state, but also putting together in such a way and working with people in such a way during the process that he could get it passed. I know early on in my career as budget director, Pete Hackney who had been legislative budget officer for years, great guy, forgotten more than I'd ever know, crusty old guy, he once told me, he said, "Hank, the best budget is a passed budget." So you've got to keep that in perspective. And Miller knew how to do that. He knew how to do things during the process when it got in legislature, he was willing to compromise, and when I say that, I don't mean that we ever did anything that was inappropriate that was illegal, underhanded, anything like that, but he always recognized that it was a partnership in a way. 01:07:00He had been in the legislature, he understood how the process worked, because he had been before governors wanting to get something from his district to meet a need or whatever, so he understood how to strike that balance and come out with a good and effective budget.
SHORT: So each side of the legislature, the Senate and the House, agreed to thecommittee report.
SHORT: Which comes out--
HUCKABY: The conference committee report on the budget was not open to debate.It was an up and down vote.
SHORT: And then it goes to the Governor.
HUCKABY: Goes to the Governor.
SHORT: Now, he has line item veto power.
HUCKABY: He does. The Governor has line item veto power, and it's one that wealways exercise in two ways. There were certain things that the legislature would always put in the budget, typically were language items, "the Governor's got to do this, got to do that." Well, sometimes in years past, the Attorney 01:08:00General and the courts had ruled that that was not appropriate in an appropriations bill, and so we would always veto those items, 1) because they weren't what they were wanting, instructing you to do, was not what you ought to do, and secondly, by vetoing those items, that act was preserving, telling everyone that the Governor has that line item veto, and we will exercise it. And from time to time there would be fiscal items that the Governor would veto. We would actually take money out of the budget. The key there is trying to get the budget written in such a way that you can actually get through them, and that was not always easy to do. 01:09:00
SHORT: Can the legislature override a veto?
HUCKABY: Yes, they can.
SHORT: Have they ever?
HUCKABY: Yes, they have. They overrode a veto in the Busby administration onthe budget, and I think there have been some since or attempted in some since. The key, though, is trying to maintain as much open communications as you can to be sure everybody understands what is in the budget and why it's in the budget. There was one very famous--or infamous depending on perspective--event when the Governor was, I believe it was the 1993budget, maybe '94, where the legislature had put in a line item, I never will forget it, $476,476.00. We didn't know what it was. And for it to be that kind of number, we used to call 01:10:00it "raggedy number." You know, where in the world could that--we couldn't find out. And so the Governor vetoed it. Well, it opened a Pandora's box. We found out that that was some money the legislature put in to be used as their own sort of grant program in the Department of Education to go out to various school systems. Well, pardon my French, but all hell broke loose, and that was a tough time and took us a while for everybody to get their feelings put back together on that, and a guy wrote a book, got a Pulitzer prize for that, one of the press--
SHORT: Is that the so-called slush fund?
HUCKABY: A slush fund, that's right. That's right. And that, in turn, led tolegislation the following session that cleaned up that part of it. 01:11:00
SHORT: Well, let's talk a minute now about the lottery.
SHORT: The Governor successfully getting his lottery, and with the fundsdedicated solely to education. Now, how were those funds appropriated?
HUCKABY: Well, the constitutional amendment that had passed allowed us to usethose funds in three ways, one for our K-12 program, one for scholarships, and three were for education related to capital expenditures. We knew going in, when you make some projections long-term, that probably ultimately all the money would have to be used for the first two, the pre-K program and the scholarships, 01:12:00which was the Governor's top priorities anyway. The one thing that threw us for the surprises, caught us off guard initially, was when the lottery went into effect, it became far more successful far earlier than we had anticipated. We had Dr.Thomason working on that. He had made the best estimates he could. Well, we missed it by a wide margin, so we were sitting there for the first year or so with more money than we knew what to do with. And so what became the backstop for us was this third category, capital expenditures. So we put a lot of money into technology and schools, it's when we put up all these satellites, and it's when we built the GPTV facility in downtown Atlanta and all of that. 01:13:00But over time, and it's happening now, you don't do that anymore. And then we made certain kinds of grants to local school systems for facility-related kind of programs. But now I think almost 100% of the money goes for pre-K and scholarships.
SHORT: Who makes that decision as to where the money is spent?
HUCKABY: Well, you only spend it, you know, which school systems or whatever,there's a formula that's managed on a day-to-day basis by the Department of Education.
HUCKABY: But it's based upon the recommendation of the Governor and it ispassed by the legislature. What was interesting when we developed those categories, you have those categories, but then you've got to give definition to them to implement them. And I never will forget whose credit, I mean, we staff people, you know, the so-called experts, we came up with a number of plans on 01:14:00how the scholarship portion ought to be implemented, and the Governor would sit there and reject everything. That's not what he had in mind, that we weren't hitting the bulls eye. So he called us in and we always knew we were in for something when we walked in the room and the Governor already had his yellow legal pad because he'd been thinking, and he had since, in essence, on his own, outlined the whole program, he'd already had a name. He came up with the acronym HOPE and it was Helping Outstanding People's Education. And he outlined how he wanted it to work and that was it. We professionals might have to go back to the drawing board again, we just had to fine-tune that to make it work. And again, 01:15:00not really knowing how successful financially the lottery was going to be, so if you recall, there were certain thresholds, there was an income test. A household couldn't earn, I think the first one was $60,000.00 a year because the vision that the Governor had was, he wanted to help those folks, I think the example he used, you know, was the schoolteacher and the truck driver, or the school teacher and the state patrolman, two income families who wanted to try to send their kids to school, and he wanted to provide an incentive for those kids to do well, to qualify. That's why he came up with a B average. If you were successful, if you work hard and maintain a Baverage, then we're going to help you go to college. The lottery was so successful in bringing in money within, I 01:16:00think, the next year, based on analysis we could raise that threshold to $100,000.00, and then after another year further analysis revealed, well, you wouldn't have all that much impact if we removed the income cap in time, and then we debated things about payment of fees and those kind of things. I was against the payment of fees, you know, I didn't win that battle. But it has now since come back and set a lmit how much fee--books, I think they may have eliminated that altogether by now, but I think all that speaks to the fact that when it came to those big issues like that, Bob, which the Governor had strong 01:17:00opinions and that's a critical part of what he wanted to choose as Governor, he was very much hands-on. Very much hands-on.
SHORT: Well, you spent a lot of time with him. What is Zell Miller like whenthere are no cameras or microphones around?
HUCKABY: Well, he's like most of us, I guess. We can be pretty complicated.Zell can be very tough, very, very demanding, and I was never put out by that. He can be very gracious, he demands good work, he demands hard work. I don't think I've ever worked any harder. But I always took comfort in the fact that he, Zell Miller, was a hard worker too. I wasn't working any harder than he was. 01:18:00I remember the stretch there, you know, I think it was in '92 we had to call a special session of the legislature to cut the budget. And getting ready for the process and receiving all the options and everything from the various agencies and all, I worked 35 days straight, no time off, and I was exhausted, but the Governor was working just as hard during that time, and to me, still to this day that's one of the crowning successes of that administration, in that we had been through the recession where we had to cut a lot of--that may have been in August of '91, cut a lot of--from the budget, we had to lay off people and we had 01:19:00eliminated positions, et cetera. We had just about gored every ox out there you could gore in the budget, and then had to call a special session to cut even more. We had to cut about 5 percent, I believe, and that was a tremendous amount. It was peanuts today. That was $410 million, and the way we were able to do that, you probably couldn't get away with this today. The special session was called, and the top leadership of the House and the top leadership of the Senate and the Governor's top staff people, we met in the basement of the Mansion privately and quietly for almost two weeks and hammered out the budget. It was 01:20:00out of that budget-cutting session, for example, that's where we made a major cut to corporate extension and the university system, a sacred cow if there ever was a sacred cow. And everybody just groans and moans that that cut would never stick. Well, the compromised budget that came out of that, for example, in that one program area was a 41 percent reduction. In our heart of hearts we thought "We'll never sustain anything like that." Well, we've got about 25 percent, which reverberated around the country. Nobody had cut that sacred cow anything like that anywhere in the country, but it showed the leadership of both houses and the Governor's office being able to come together and do what was best for the state, and work it out. Nobody liked all of it by any means, and I guess the 01:21:00budget that then went on the floor and the one that passed was probably 98 or 99 percent reflective of what we had worked out. If we had just gone into a special session like that and thrown something out there, we would probably still be meeting. But it was done in the minimum amount of time it could have been done, and when it came--Zell was tough, but Zell also knew what we had to do to get things done. Miller could be, as I said, he could be very forceful. One thing he was not very tolerant of is what he called high maintenance department heads. If you are a department head and you were continually in the press and things are 01:22:00getting screwed up and having to explain yourself and all, you didn't last very long under Miller. Not that he didn't take an interest in what you were doing and thought what you were doing was valuable, but if you were constantly in the press and constantly having to explain things, then you weren't doing it very well. He liked things to run smooth. And to his credit, and I'm sure chagrin, he had to make some changes from time to time. You well know if you hire enough people and appointment enough people over time, you're going to make some mistakes, and you're going to be disappointed in some people. And there were some folks in the Miller administration that he and all of us were disappointed in, but he did what he had to do, and--
SHORT: Now comes 1994, reelection. He promised he would only serve one term.01:23:00Why did he decide to run the second term?
HUCKABY: Well, that's the one he said in the original election that I justchagrined. I said, "Why in the world are you saying that?" I don't know why he made it--maybe he thought genuinely that's what he ought to do or thought he had to make that promise to get elected. But I think one reason he did is, from his perspective, that first year, year and a half, were almost lost years, I know a lot of people now contend well, when did Zell quit being a Democrat. Zell was always a visionary. He had always had goals. I think he always believed in the 01:24:00appropriate role of government, and particularly coming from the part of the state where he came from, there were certainly things that the state and the federal government could do to help the people in that region. He came from a part of the state where about the only jobs in so many of those counties were government-related jobs. I mean, that was one of the things that astounded this little boy from Hapeville, Georgia is that when you went up there and you had an election in Towns County, and if they were changing parties jobs changed from school bus drive to--and I was just flabbergasted by that. So Zell just stood the positive role that the government could take, and I think in many ways what convinced him, a lot of folks tried to convince him to keep running, but he lost a good part of his term, he couldn't do the kind of things he wanted to do, and 01:25:00we were just getting on track with some of those, and from my perspective, given what he was able to do in those first four years, he deserved to get reelected.
SHORT: So he wanted to finish his agenda.
HUCKABY: I think that was a large part of it. You may remember an initiativethat he started in the budget process called Georgia Rebound. There's a lot of stories coming out of that, but he called all of us minions around one day to the study up at the Governor's Mansion, and he laid out this idea about Georgia Rebound. And this was still in the shadows of us just cutting the budget and 01:26:00laying off people and all this other stuff, and I was sitting there and I'm just in some ways stunned, and we keep talking about this and his plan for funding Georgia Rebound was a series of fee increases that, if all were implemented there would be about--I don't remember the exact number, 240million, something like that. And he told me, he said, "I don't want to be remembered as people drive down the highway as I was the governor when we closed that hospital." I can recall him just preaching to everyone. If he would go around the room and one by one, everybody fell in line. There were two holdouts, two people that were very cautious about it was Keith Mason and me. And we kept talking and 01:27:00talking, and finally Keith said, "Let's do it." And Zell looked across at me, we were sitting across the room from each other, and he said, "Okay, Huckaby. You are the only one still in the bunker. Are you going to come out of the bunker?" I said, "Well, Governor, I'll come out of the bunker with this one caveat. We won't know until next month--we'll have a better feel next month, well, we we'll know in early July"--because this was starting in June--"How we ended the year in terms of surplus and we will need a certain amount in order to fund the midterm adjustment for K-12 in the next session," because that's when you always do it. And I said, "If we don't meet that number, then we're going to have to 01:28:00send out a notice to agency heads to start holding back money to be able to do that. With that understanding, let's go." And sure enough, we didn't meet that number. And in August I was sending out a letter to the department heads, "Hold back 2 percent so we can be sure we can make that." But that process of Georgia Reboud in retrospect was a stroke of genius. It showed the visionary he was, and that he was willing to go out there and do that heavy lifting to get something passed that was pretty controversial, and it was hard work. We really--all of us worked hard. Those fees, any time you're tripling the driver's 01:29:00license fee and increasing these hunting fees and all of those kinds of things, and it was a work in progress because all of those things didn't just happen lock step. I mean, you never knew quite where you were until the end and then see you had gotten all the revenue passed that your budget was based on. But it was an interesting process. Some people on the previous administrations were amazed that they would be that progressive, that visionary, that far-reaching. And it worked. Now, for the short term it really hacked off some legislators because they had just spent months talking, then we cut all these people and we've done all this and you convinced us how bad things are, and they would say, "Quite frankly, a lot of this is popular back home. Now we're going to turn around and start raising all these fees and doing all this other stuff," but it 01:30:00inured to the benefit of the people of Georgia.
SHORT: So in November of that year, he was reelected. Had you made up your mindat that time whether or not you wanted to go through another four years as budget director?
HUCKABY: No, I had not, although I was beginning to think about it some. Youknow, it was a squeaker of an election. It's based on, in my opinion, how well he had done the first four years, he didn't deserve it being that close, but it was that close. I was still enjoying the job, it was exciting job, it was a very demanding job. One story coming out of that election, we were walking out of the hotel about 1:30 or 2 o'clock in the morning, and at that point I think we were 01:31:00leading about 21,000 or 30,000. We knew he had won. And of course, this campaign, we had gotten way behind in the budget process. I mean, we had been doing our staff work and all that, but again, hadn't looked at the budget at all. I mean, and this was in November. So we were walking out together and he turns to me and he said, "Well, Hank, I can be there at 7:30 in the morning, start working on the budget." I said, "Governor, all my guys and gals are at home in bed. Give me to 10:30 and we'll be ready for it." And that shows you his work ethic, and sure enough we started up at 10:30 next morning, just worked our fannies off in the next six week. I began to give some thought toward the end of the next session about maybe looking at something else-- 01:32:00
SHORT: That was 1995.
HUCKABY: '95. I had had a feeler from Georgia State University about a job thatpaid a good bit more than what I was making with Zell. One thing about Zell, he's very conservative when it comes to staff salaries. And my kids were getting ready for--well, they were already in college. But it was a challenging session. We did some other great work during that session. He called me in the office one day, we were still in session, and he outlined to me what his five or six priorities were for his last term. And as we did sort of the back of the envelope math, there was no way to get there out of revenue growth. We were 01:33:00going to be about halfway, based on what Dr. Thomason at that point was estimating, as a rule, you can probably count on about 4 percent growth each year. So we went back with my staff, and that's where we came up with the plan and program called Budget Redirection, and you know, to fund what the Governor wanted to do, we were going to have to generate between 2 and $300 million outside growth in revenue. So the only place to go was what's called continuation, existing program. And so we put that program in motion. On a day-to-day basis Tim Burgess sort of ran that program for my staff, and by the 01:34:00time I did leave in August, September, we had that program up and running. I was very proud of that. I think we did a great job for him. I mean, the things he wanted to do, I tried to get him to cut one of them a little bit. I mean, as I said earlier, he was devoted to education he particularly had a heart for school teachers and their salary and he was going to make a commitment that they would get a 6 percent pay raise for four years, each year for four years, to bring them up to the national average. Well, I knew what that was going to cost every year, and I said, "Well, can we cut that to 5?" He wouldn't budge. Now, ironically, four years later when I came to work at the University of Georgia I 01:35:00was sure glad he prevailed, because that helped my situation here. But, in the middle of that session he set his goals for the rest of that term, and that's what he worked to and that's what we designed the budget process to do, and he was successful. He succeeded in all of them.
SHORT: So you did go to Georgia State.
SHORT: What were your duties there?
HUCKABY: Well, I went into a program that was a part of the College of BusinessAdministration. It was a special program that focused on economic research, focused on doing a lot of research and consultation internationally, which really appealed to me. I worked with Dr. Roy Ball down there in the Policy Research Center, and I enjoyed that. It got me back into higher education in a 01:36:00way. You know, I had left Georgia State in 1971, so I'm sort of going full circle here, but a different part of it. I wasn't in administration. I was more closely aligned to the academic side. And so I learned a lot there. It gave me an opportunity to do some work internationally in Russia and in Bangladesh, met some great people and sort of put me on track to--I won't say I didn't work hard. I did, but it wasn't as daily intense as being in OPD was. There were times when I thought maybe I left too soon, but generally it's really worked out well. Within less than two years, the position as Director of the Institute of 01:37:00Government at the University of Georgia came open, and a good friend of mine, a longtime colleague, called me and urged me to apply for that job, and as I looked more at it and understood all what it was going on in the Institute of Government, it really appealed to me. And long story short, I did get in the hunt and eventually was named to that position. Came here to the University of Georgia in October of '97.
SHORT: So you actually came to University of Georgia for the opportunity andnot the football team?
HUCKABY: I really did. I really did. And then about 2-1/2 years later,Dr.Allen Barber who had been at the University as Senior Vice President in 01:38:00Finance and Administration for over 25 years, he retired, and long story short, I was encouraged to throw my hat in the ring for that, and became Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration in July of 2000.
SHORT: Well, the way I look at that job is simply this, that it must take a lotof moxie to do it, because the duties include everything but emptying the trash cans, so how do you get around to fulfilling all that responsibility?
HUCKABY: Well, I think the key to that, you know, is really the key to whateversuccess I've had throughout my career, is to hire better people and smarter people than you are. It was a great challenge. One thing that helped me, Bob, to 01:39:00make the transition to that job was the two years at Georgia State at the Institute of Government, because it got me back reconnected to the culture of higher education. And I don't mean that in any negative way at all. It is different. And I was able to do it because I had a couple of, fortunately, a couple of people retired and I was able to fill some positions, and I did have to deal early on with some tough situations and changing people out, but the key to doing that was hiring real good people and having good people, and you know, my approach, managerially was a little different from my predecessor. That doesn't mean his was wrong or bad, it was just a different time and I was a different person, so we did some things differently. I had a good relationship with President Adams and with the provost, at that time KarenHolbrook was the president, and if I had done anything smart when I was at the Institute of 01:40:00Government, it was this. Karen Holbrook was a very bright lady, engaging person, smart person. She would come to the University from Washington State and she didn't know anything about the Institute of Government, anything like that. So we had just established over there primarily with Steve Wrigley's help, see I recruited Steve Wrigley to come here from--in the waning days of the Miller administration he was the Chief of Staff over there--to set up really manage our international programs. We set up a program with China to train local government officials, and somehow we parlayed away to get the provost to go over there with us on a trip, and there was not an ulterior motive other than we wanted her to 01:41:00know about what we were doing. But it worked out very well because it allowed me to establish a relationship with her so that when I did become Senior Vice President, we had a good relationship and we were able to not miss a beat. And on a day-to-day basis, the Chief Operating Officer at the University is the provost, and so we had a very constructive and positive working relationship. But it was a great job of being the Senior Vice President, and I don't think I could have ended my career in public service in any real way.
SHORT: What's ahead for Hank Huckaby?
HUCKABY: Well, I hope more years of good health and great family relationships.01:42:00Amy and I have six grandkids. Three of them live here in the Athens area. I have recently gone to work part-time with a local financial advisory firm. I enjoy that. I enjoy the people and sort of keeps me active. I am very much involved in some volunteer work. We are very much involved and I work with the Methodist church. I am on the board of trustees at Young Harris College, and we are going through a transition--well, we've made the transition from a two-year to four-year school, and I'm looking forward to hopefully doing some very positive constructive work in helping the board of trustees and Cathy Cox make that a success. So we're staying busy.
SHORT: Well, I want to thank you, Hank, on behalf of the Duckworth Library at01:43:00your alma mater, and of the Richard D. Russell Library here at the University of Georgia.
HUCKABY: Thank you very much.
SHORT: Been a pleasure having you.
HUCKABY: Same here.
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