By DOUG NURSE The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / ww.ajc.com
The Milton Board of Ethics on Friday dismissed a complaint against a member of the board that was filed by another board member.
The board voted 5-0 to dismiss the complaint against Carol Lane filed in July by John McMillan. He alleged that when Lane addressed the City Council on a planning matter on July 12, she improperly failed to disclose on a comment card that she had given money to a City Council member's campaign.
Chairman Clint Johnson said the board determined there was no intent by Lane to violate the ordinance.
Lane said she was relieved to be exonerated. She acknowledged she didn't check the box, but said it was a simple oversight. Lane, a member of a group some consider to be dedicated to slowing growth, said the complaint was politically motivated. McMillan is a developer.
"They were waiting for me to make a mistake," Lane said. "It was retaliation against me and the Birmingham Hopewell Alliance, and any citizen speaking out. But I wasn't speaking on behalf of the BHA. I spoke as a citizen. This was frivolous."
McMillan on Friday offered to drop the complaint if Lane would resign. She refused. Lane and McMillan recused themselves from the proceedings.
The complaint against Lane came amid a flurry of allegations of unethical behavior by Milton officials. In all, four members of the seven-member City Council have had ethics complaints filed against them, and all have been dismissed.
The charge against Lane was filed just before the board was supposed to consider allegations of wrongdoing by two City Council members considered by some to be sympathetic to developers.
McMillan could not be reached for comment Monday.
The City Council, concerned that ethics complaints could be used for political retaliation or harassment, have since tightened up the process and definitions of what constitutes a violation of the city's code of ethics.