Under the arrangement, Sterling’s pay increased from his $114,000 government salary since November 2019, when he took on the role of project manager for the purchase and rollout of the state’s new voting equipment. State election officials say as a contractor, the government didn’t have to pay benefits, such as health insurance.
Though he’s a contractor, Sterling has become the face of Georgia elections, leading press conferences debunking election conspiracy theories, criticizing mistakes by county election officials and calling out President Donald Trump for inciting threats against election workers, proclaiming “this has to stop.”
Sterling, a lifelong Republican, even drew praise from Democrats for his comments, and he received flowers and handwritten notes from voters across the country.
Buthis independent status prompted questions from state legislators and critics who have asked why oversight of the state’s voting machines is being managed outside Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s payroll.
Sterling’s contract, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through the Georgia Open Records Act, expires Thursday after the state’s voting equipment has been used in several elections this year. Sterling will then return to the secretary of state’s office, resuming his previous role as chief operating officer.
The secretary of state’s office awarded the contract to Sterling under an emergency procurement without a competitive bidding process, said Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs. The government needed someone to manage the quick installation of voting equipment in time for this year’s elections, adding a paper ballot to Georgia elections for the first time in 18 years, she said.https://e2479ea8ce1e3ca0b28896ef1d2d0357.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
“From my point of view, they did get a good deal with me for the taxpayers,” Sterling said in an interview. “We got the whole thing rolled out in the middle of a pandemic and had a record turnout at the same time. I’m going to walk away from that role feeling pretty good.”
Election officials decided to make Sterling a contractor after struggling to find a project manager to handle the state’s contract with Dominion Voting Systems, Fuchs said. The government had considered hiring engineering consultants or military logistics experts for the job, but they weren’t willing to take on the work within the $500,000 to $1 million price range the state was considering.
With a deadline to deliver over 30,000 voting machines before the primary election, Sterling became a contractor, paid from a $150 million bond for the voting system state lawmakers approved. The secretary of state’s office hired another contractor to take on the financial management duties of Sterling’s old job.
Sterling became a contractor because the money was available from the bond, and he couldn’t handle the heavy workload of both his former and new duties, Fuchs said.
Aileen Nakamura, an advocate for voting on paper ballots filled out by hand, said she’s worried that Sterling has so much authority over Georgia’s elections through his company, Sterling Innovative Solutions.
“It seems like Georgia has outsourced its elections,” said Nakamura, a Sandy Springs resident. “It’s about control. Do you want some third party to be running Georgia elections? The answer is very clear. Every voter should say we want our state and counties to be running elections.”
Sterling’s company has no other employees, and it doesn’t do business with any other client besides the secretary of state’s office, he said.
State representatives questioned Sterling about his contract during a committee meeting last week as they demanded answers from the secretary of state’s office about how officials ran the presidential election, which Democrat Joe Biden won by roughly 12,000 votes over Trump.
“If citizens don’t trust that their vote counts and that casting their vote means something, that’s a problem and it has to be fixed immediately,” said state Rep. Micah Gravley, a Republican from Douglasville on the committee. “Every avenue needs to be explored and remedied as soon as possible.”
Gravley said he wasn’t familiar with the details of Sterling’s contract.
Under it, Sterling has been paid $8,333 twice monthly compared to the $4,760 per pay period as a state employee. As a contractor, Sterling is responsible for his own benefits, retirement savings and taxes.
Health insurance, retirement and payroll taxes cost the government an additional 62% of each state worker’s salary, according to the House Budget & Research Office. Sterling’s contract is 75% higher than his government salary.
Sterling, a former Sandy Springs city councilman and business consultant, said he accomplished a successful rollout of the largest election equipment purchase in United States history in a short time.
The voting system has cost $133 million so far, $17 million under its $150 million budget after Sterling negotiated the purchase of thousands of additional voting machines, scanners and voter check-in tablets, he said. In addition, the state covered licensing costs that would have otherwise been borne by county governments over the next 10 years. The initial cost of the voting system was about $107 million when the state purchased it in July 2019.
“At the end of the day, we ended up saving taxpayers millions of dollars,” Fuchs said. “I needed someone who understood project management and could effectively deliver a project of this size, and Gabriel did that.”
Despite the challenges of this election year — long lines in the primary, difficulties operating an unfamiliar voting system and a sharp increase in absentee voting — Sterling said he reached his goals. He said complaints about voting now are more a reaction to the outcome of the presidential election than they are actual problems with voting equipment.
“We were attacked by the left early, and now we’re being attacked by the right, and we still executed. We got it done,” Sterling said. “This stuff at the end, that’s not about the job we did. That’s about politics.”
Foreign-born population soars to new record under Biden; highest rate of immigrants since 1910
The U.S. has had a massive surge in immigration this year, with as many as 1.5 million newcomers and a record 46.2 million foreign-born people, according to a report for the Center for Immigration Studies.
After a deep trough last year, likely because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the travel and migration restrictions imposed to control the spread, the flow of people rebounded around the time President Biden was elected.
In numbers never seen before, they are coming legally through airports and land border crossings and illegally across the Rio Grande and remote regions of Arizona and California.
“There was pent-up demand for legal immigration, and illegal immigration has exploded in one of the greatest surges, if not the greatest, we’ve ever seen,” said Steven A. Camarota, the demographer who was the chief author of the report. “It’s driving the numbers up and up and up.”
As it stands, 14.2% of the U.S. population is foreign-born, or 1 out of every 7 people. That is the highest rate of immigrants in the population since 1910, when the number was 14.7%. At current trends, the government says, the U.S. will break that record well before the end of this decade.
Those numbers are even starker given the reversal of trends.
The data showed a drop of 1.2 million immigrants from February to September 2020, likely the result of coronavirus restrictions blocking new entrants, even as outmigration continued. That left the population of the foreign-born — the Census Bureau’s term — at 43.8 million.
It was up to 45 million by January and marched steadily to the current 46.2 million total shown for last month.
In the year after President Trump’s election, the immigrant population flattened.
Mashup: MSM worst moments of 2021
Salvation Army’s Internal Survey Suggests Only Whites Are Racist
“I Took The Salvation Army’s Internal Survey On ‘Racism’ Within The Organization. Here’s What I Discovered.”
The Salvation Army has recently come under significant fire for asking white donors to “offer a sincere apology” for racism. The nearly 150-year old organization created a curriculum entitled “Let’s Talk About Racism” and shared it with its members, along with associated DEI Trainings that cite and draw from Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi’s work. The packet argues that Christians should “stop trying to be ‘colorblind’” and that they should apologize for being “antagonistic.. to black people or the culture, values and interests of the black community.” In response, donors by the thousands have vowed not to donate until the organization reverses their stance.
The Salvation Army has denied any wrongdoing, defiantly calling the allegations that they have gone woke “false.” While they admit that the topic of race in America can be fraught with controversy, they have denied they have “gone woke.” Much of their denial centers around their claim that use of the guide was completely voluntary, and that they are not peddling critical race narratives in their organization.
I obtained a copy of The Salvation Army’s internal survey on “racism within the Salvation Army” and tested that claim.
One Salvation Army officer reached out on condition of anonymity to Color Us United, the raceblind advocacy organization which I run, to reveal an internal survey he was asked to take. It was not a voluntary survey, and was sent by the Territorial Diversity and Inclusion Secretary to every Salvation Army Officer in the US Central Territory. The purpose of the survey, according to an email from the “Territorial Racial Diversity and Inclusion Secretary,” was “to better understand perception of institutional racial bias within The Salvation Army.” The accompanying email stated that there was no “preconceived idea” with regard to whether or not racism existed in The Salvation Army, and told recipients that there were no wrong answers.
I sat down and went through the questions.
First, Questions #1, #2, and #3 asked me for my race, age, and gender. I could not skip these questions. Already, I felt uncomfortable being required to list my personal attributes. If I was an officer, I would be wondering: how could this information be used against me in the future? (They did promise anonymity in this survey.)
The survey then asks Salvationists if they agree with the following definition of racism: “Institutional racism refers to organizational or system processes, behaviors, policies, or procedures, which produce negative outcomes for nonwhites relative to those for whites.” The remaining questions in the survey are dependent upon agreeing to this definition of racism. For any Officer or Soldier who disagrees with this framing, there is no way to express any disagreement or nuance apart from plainly saying that racism does not exist.
Question #6 goes on to ask the survey taker whether they believe there is any institutional bias or racism in The Salvation Army. Question #7 says: “If you answered no to question #6, do you think others in The Salvation Army think there are racial tensions or institutional racism?” The purpose of these questions, I started to feel, was to force the survey taker to admit that The Salvation Army is institutionally racist according to their definition of racism. There is no room for any Officer to elaborate on how they disagree with the definitions, framing, or worldview informing the questions.
The final question asks: “What is the best way to address Racism in The Salvation Army?” The answer options are: “individual reconciliation,” “group reconciliation,” “addressing structures and practices that cause racism,” “all of the above,” or “other.” Note that there is no option for the survey taker to simply say that racism is not a problem in The Salvation Army. The survey (which according to the email, was “intended to go to all the officers within your division, employees, and soldiers” for the Central Territory) simply assumes that racism is present in the organization.
Going through the survey, it became apparent that the survey was attempting to lead me to making only one conclusion about The Salvation Army – that it harbored problematic racism.
This belief is one of the core tenets of critical race theory. Critical race theorists teach that racism is ubiquitous in all aspects of American life. They also teach that it works systemically; that is, by being ingrained in the systems and institutions that operate in society. Their primary evidence of the system being racist is the reality that individuals from different demographics have different life outcomes on average, without taking into account any variables that might impact said life outcomes apart from the color of their skin. All of these concepts are reflected in The Salvation Army’s survey.
Any officer who believes in individualism, colorblindness, and meritocracy will be unable to answer any of the survey questions in good faith. Any officer who believes that The Salvation Army is not a racist organization would not be able to answer these questions in good faith either. Many (if not most) Americans believe that racism is primarily an issue of individuals who harbor feelings of hate against those of other races, not a society-wide conspiracy as alleged by antiracist activists. This survey totally excludes the colorblind perspective from the conversation and forces Officers and other Salvationists into a critical race theory-informed box.