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Ethics chief placed on administrative leave

Holly LaBerge, the head of the state ethics commission, has been placed on administrative leave, two days after a judge said she had been “dishonest and non-transparent,” the AJC has learned.

Commission Chairwoman Hillary Stringfellow told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she has the power to unilaterally make this move, which comes just hours before the full commission is set to meet at 4:30 p.m. today to discuss litigation and personnel.

LaBerge’s personal attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Stringfellow said she informed LaBerge by phone at 8:15 Friday morning of the decision to place her on administrative leave with pay “until further notice.” Stringfellow said Judge Ural Glanville’s order fining LaBerge $10,000 and calling her “dishonest and non-transparent” was the tipping point.

“I think we need some time to sort out our response to the order and the allegations that she has raised,” she said.

As chair of the commission, Stringfellow said she has the authority to place LaBerge on leave, but not to fire her.

“That cannot be done without a meeting of the commission. The commission is meeting at 4:30 this afternoon,” she said.

Stringfellow said LaBerge chose not to come to work Thursday and left early Wednesday. Placing her on administrative leave was the best option, she said.

“She has the flexibility to not be in the office but not be using vacation time,” she said.

Stringfellow said no single person will take over for LaBerge in her absence.

“We have a flow chart for who is responsible for certain things in the office when she is not there,” she said.

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