The DeKalb County Board of Ethics slapped former Commissioner Elaine Boyer with a reprimand Thursday for using taxpayer money for personal profit.
It was the first time in memory that the board has punished an elected official, setting a precedent for potential future actions against others who break ethical rules, said John Ernst, the board’s chairman.
Ethics complaints are pending against all five remaining county commissioners, and the Board of Ethics has the power to remove, suspend or reprimand county employees. The board has never exercised its power to remove an official from office.
Boyer resigned nearly three months ago and pleaded guilty to charges that she bilked taxpayers out of more than $93,000. She’s scheduled to be sentenced in federal court Dec. 3.
The reprimand, approved by a unanimous vote of the Board of Ethics, was negotiated with Boyer’s attorney, and it avoided a formal public hearing on the accusations against her.
“She admits she violated the code of ethics,” Ernst said. “The sole focus of the board is to move these cases along in an expedited manner.”
Boyer didn’t attend the board’s meeting, but she acknowledged in the negotiated agreement that she misused her county purchasing card for personal benefit, failed to comply with the directives of the purchasing card agreement and concealed her abuse of county funds.
“I hope the board’s action sets an example,” said Tom Owens, who filed the ethics complaint against Boyer. “I want the citizens of DeKalb County to be proud of this.”
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