Ex-DeKalb Commissioner Stan Watson. AJC file photo
Photo: Hyosub Shin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: Hyosub Shin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

DeKalb ethics board pursues cases despite legal challenge

Despite a date next month at the Georgia Supreme Court to hear arguments about whether DeKalb Ethics Board members were appointed illegally, the group is still meeting regularly and moving forward on reviewing residents’ complaints.

That includes a case against former DeKalb Commissioner Stan Watson that has been pending for over two years. New evidence against Watson, who is accused of using secret accounts to manage money he solicited from county vendors to fund community events, led Ethics Board staff to streamline the charges against him.

VIDEO: In other DeKalb news

Some 400 drivers are seeking more pay, better retirement benefits and better treatment.

Thursday’s monthly meeting of the board was the first time Watson’s case had been discussed in over a year. Members agreed the next step should be to schedule a hearing with him so he can respond to the charges and answer questions about the evidence.

The board also reviewed three new cases, although no action was taken:

  • A complaint that six of seven members of the DeKalb Board of Commissioners violated the Georgia Constitution and open meeting laws when they voted in February to give themselves 60 percent raises. Ed Williams, who is now running to unseat one of these commissioners, is the complainant.
  • A complaint filed by the owner of a consulting firm that various county officials are allowing work in the Watershed Management Department to be handled by contractors who are not licensed professional engineers despite requirements stating otherwise.
  • A complaint that Commissioner Greg Adams ran afoul of county ethics laws when he violated sexual harassment policies.

All three of these cases are in the initial stages, and the accused parties now have time to submit written responses to the allegations. Eventually the Ethics Board will vote on whether there is probable cause to pursue an investigation on these complaints.

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