The new DeKalb County Board of Ethics met for the first time at Oglethorpe University on Wednesday. From left: Board attorney Gene Chapman and board members Robert Tatum, Larry Schall, Greg Russell, Dan DeWoskin, Brian Deutsch and Scott Bonder. MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM

Renewed DeKalb Ethics Board resumes work

The restructured DeKalb County Board of Ethics met for the first time Wednesday and laid the groundwork to resume hearing allegations of misconduct.

The board, which was overhauled last year by the Georgia General Assembly and DeKalb voters, recently gained new members who were appointed by community organizations instead of by elected politicians.

The board didn’t hear pending ethics complaints, but it began getting to work.

Its members adopted a rule that ethics complaints must be brought within four years of a violation being discovered, and they elected Oglethorpe University President Larry Schall as the board's chairman.

“We’re excited and a little bit daunted,” Schall said after the meeting. “We have a lot of work ahead of us. We’re starting fresh and we hope to do right by the county and its citizens.”

The board voted to ask residents who want to move forward with their previously filed ethics complaints to fill out a form swearing that their allegations are truthful, as required by House Bill 597. Then their cases will be considered anew by the board and a full-time ethics officer, whom the board must hire.

Ethics complaints are pending against suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton, Commissioner Stan Watson and several others.

A judge put Sutton’s case on hold while her lawsuit questioning the board’s legitimacy is being considered.

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