State Ethics Commission exonerated Councilmembers O'Brien and Lusk
By DOUG NURSE The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 11/29/07
Milton City Council members Neal O'Brien and Bill Lusk were exonerated Thursday by the state Ethics Commission of a complaint that has dogged them for almost a year.
"Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I'm free at last," Lusk said. "Your reputation and your name have been impugned, and it's out there in front of the whole world. It's used against you. It's an attempt to discredit you."
After a 15-minute hearing, the four Ethics Commission members voted unanimously to dismiss the charges, said Rick Thompson, executive secretary for the commission.
An identical complaint was filed in April alleging that O'Brien and Lusk improperly used city resources for personal gain when they asked the city clerk to send an e-mail to the press telling them of an upcoming fundraiser.
O'Brien and Lusk, who had only been in office a few months, said a quorum of the City Council was likely to be present, and they were worried that they might run afoul of the open meetings law if they didn't tell the media.
The city ethics boards' complaint unanimously tossed out the charges in July. The complainant, Leon Cole Jr., then filed allegations with the state Ethics Commission.
"It's baseless, frivolous, and vindictive," Lusk said. "Fortunately, justice prevailed."
Cole said he didn't think his complaints were frivolous. He said he remains convinced that the e-mail shouldn't have gone out, but he said he'll accept the Ethics Commission decision.
"I'm not angry," he said. "I did what I thought I had to do. Because of my actions, the elected officials know the citizens are watching their conduct, and that's worthwhile."
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Milton City Council Members Cleared Of Ethics Complaints
Posted by Accessmilton Admin at Thursday, November 29, 2007