By Ralph Ellis / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Milton City Council member Tina D’Aversa faces an ethics complaint for allegedly offering her election opponent a committee post if he would drop out of the race.
The complaint, filed Wednesday, says D’Aversa sent an e-mail to Joe Longoria on Sept. 3 in which she offered him an appointment to the city’s Highway 9 Design Guideline Committee in exchange for withdrawing from the Nov. 3 election. The offer violates the city ethics code, as does the use of city e-mails to make the offer, the complaint alleges.
D’Aversa said she did nothing unethical.
“This complaint, filed by former Milton Council member [Neal] O'Brien, is politically motivated and conveniently timed less than two weeks before the election to discredit me,” she said in a statement.
D’Aversa said she supported council member Burt Hewitt, who defeated O’Brien in the 2007 election, and supports other council members O’Brien doesn’t.
Asked why he filed the complaint, O'Brien said: “This is simply about ethics, the rule of law and about constituents’ right to confidence in government free of corruption from the top down. Beyond that I feel the complaint speaks for itself.”
Longoria said the allegations in the ethics complaint are accurate.
He said he’d earlier volunteered to serve on city committees and boards but never heard back from the city, so he decided to run for council. D’Aversa “was a little upset that I was running,” Longoria said.
According to e-mails the city released, D'Aversa wrote to Longoria on Sept. 3: “My intention is for you to join a board or committee and to withdraw your application to seek my council position serving from District 5. … Let’s save the city money and move forward without a costly campaign for the council position.”
Later on Sept. 3, Longoria replied: “As I stated on the phone, this has nothing to do with you or the job you have done. Our city benefits when individuals want to become involved and seek to contribute.”
On Thursday a complaint was filed against D’Aversa with the state Ethics Commission. Staff attorney Tom Plank said he couldn’t release the complaint until it had been delivered to D’Aversa. D’Aversa has 30 days to reply to the complaint.